We were asked to gather feedback on mental health services provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHFT) in Buckinghamshire.

What we did

In 2022 we conducted interviews, focus groups, and an online survey to gather opinions from various groups.

Who we heard from

OHFT asked us to talk to specific groups because national data shows they may struggle to access mental health support and experience poorer outcomes.

Groups and people we listened to included those who experienced homelessness, substance misuse, LGBT+ individuals, people in deprived areas, minority ethnic communities, and people who had experienced domestic abuse.

Feedback highlighted issues with access to services, long waiting times, and difficulties in receiving appropriate support. Some found crisis teams accessible, while others faced significant delays in getting onto waiting lists or receiving treatment.

Key Findings:

Access to Services:

  • Positive feedback for accessing Healthy Minds services.
  • Difficulty accessing other mental health services.
  • Longer wait times for those with complex needs.

Quality of Treatment and Support:

  • Mixed feelings about personalised treatment.
  • Frustration with repetitive questioning.
  • Desire for more treatment options and concerns about medication.


  • Mixed feedback on staff empathy.
  • Continuity of care and trust in staff important.
  • Challenges for specific groups, such as people who had experienecd domestic abuse.

Integration of Services:

  • Difficulty accessing NHS mental health support if engaged with another service.
  • Lack of clarity in linking NHS with voluntary sector services.
  • Substance misuse patients struggle to access mental health services.

Improving the Service:

  • Clear and integrated pathway needed.
  • Improved communication to manage expectations.
  • Desire for consistent staff interaction and a single access point.

Key Recommendations:

Access to Services:

  • Publish accessible information on accessing mental health services.
  • Enable referrals from VCSEs and allow self-referral.
  • Raise awareness of mental health support through NHS 111.

Integration of Services:

  • Provide person-centered care for individuals with complex needs.
  • Ensure simultaneous support for substance misuse and mental health issues.

Communication and Caring:

  • Minimise repetitive storytelling for patients.
  • Keep patients informed and involved in treatment decisions.
  • Consider personal circumstances in care provision.

Accessibility and Tackling Health Inequality:

  • Address language, transport, and digital barriers.
  • Develop diverse mental health resources.
  • Recruit a community researcher to understand patient needs.

Quality of Treatment and Support:

  • Clarify benefits of treatment.
  • Provide clear information on medication.
  • Support patients waiting for treatment, including relatives.

Response to the Report

We received a response from Oxford Health in February 2024.

Donna Clarke, Service Director Buckinghamshire and Tina Malhotra, Clinical director Buckinghamshire wrote:

The wide-reaching report has been instrumental in informing our future strategies to address care inequalities, access to service, communication, and integration of services. In response to the themes and recommendations in the report, we have developed an action plan that captures both current as well as future workstreams that we will continue to pursue to make improvements in the areas identified.


Mental Health Report

Action Plan

Response Letter

Published on 21 Feb (updated 15 Apr)

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