“Acute concerns”: is the mental health workforce equipped and supported to meet complex needs?

Elizabeth Hughes, Yvette Brown, Robert Tummey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The focus of this paper is to consider the findings of a survey, which aims to identify the types of training that acute mental health staff could access, in relation to workforce development and substance misuse issues in acute mental health care. An electronic survey was developed and distributed using work email lists to all clinicians who worked in acute mental health services across a region in England. Not all NHS organisations agreed to participate. A total of 89 clinicians responded to the survey, some failed to indicate their consent, therefore the results of the 77 that did are presented. The main finding was that most acute care staff had only accessed mandatory training such as risk assessment. Many staff had not been trained in the use of psychosocial approaches. Drug and alcohol specific activities were performed on the whole only “sometimes”. It was not possible to determine the total number of potentially eligible staff who were sent the survey, therefore, response rates cannot be calculated. It is possible that the findings may not be generalisable to other services. There may be bias in those who choose to respond to an electronic email, in terms of those who had access to a computer or who were more IT literate. In addition, the survey did not specifically set out to examine substance misuse issues as its main focus. Acute care staff work with service users with increasingly complex needs. Creative and cost effective ways of facilitating access to training and support must be found as a priority to ensure that staff have the competencies to identify and manage substance users effectively in acute mental health settings. The findings reinforce previous studies highlighting the deficit in access to psychosocial interventions training for acute care staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Dual Diagnosis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


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