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Br J Nurs. 2007 Jun 28-Jul 11;16(12):725-30.

Assessing the effectiveness of the British Army's mental health service.

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  • 1British Army, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, UK.


The Ministry of Defence's commitment to modernizing and improving mental health (MH) care for Armed Forces personnel has resulted in considerable changes to frontline services. The last remaining United Kingdom (UK) military psychiatric hospital closed on 1 April 2004 with the move to a clear, integrated care pathway between primary healthcare, military departments of community mental health (DCMHs) and secondary healthcare. The Army's eight UK DCMHs provide a patient-centred, occupational MH service grounded in the military MH philosophy of local, easily accessible, effective treatment (O'Brien, 1998). These MH services have been exposed to significant media interest and this article will attempt to quantify the correct state of affairs through patient, customer and staff satisfaction surveys. Clinical groups in the customer survey recorded a satisfaction rate of 87%, the staff survey 72% and the patient survey 94%. The Army has excellent access to specialist MH support and a common theme emerging in these surveys is the perception that the MH teams provide a high quality of service. The three surveys provide valuable direction to improve patient care and highlight strengths such as 97% of patients receiving appointments compatible with their duties.

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