Mental health trust chief executives are to meet the Care Quality Commission to discuss its handling of results from the national inpatients survey.

Mental Health Network director Steve Shrubb and trust chief executives are due to meet with the regulator next week. They will tell the CQC they think findings from the biggest ever national mental health inpatients survey, published two weeks ago, were distorted to present an unfairly negative picture.

We believe that, rather than be alarmed about our presentation of the survey results, what would worry patients and relatives is if we played down the views that were expressed

CQC

Mr Shrubb said he had received dozens of emails from members about it.

He said: “I was very disappointed. We’re meeting with the CQC to have a robust and challenging conversation.”

He highlighted, for example, that the regulator had reported that only a third of people surveyed had been as involved in their care as they would have liked.

“Clearly if you’re sectioned it’s not surprising you might have some concerns about how involved you were in your own care,” Mr Shrubb said.

The survey results also suggested fewer than half of patients had always felt safe in hospital. But Mr Shrubb said some may have been suspicious and fearful as a result of psychosis.

His disappointment echoed that of national mental health director Louis Appleby, who told Community Care magazine last week that the CQC had underplayed the survey’s positive findings.

However, the regulator strongly defended its position. A spokesman said mental health patients had as much right to be heard as anyone else.

“We believe that, rather than be alarmed about our presentation of the survey results, what would worry patients and relatives is if we played down the views that were expressed,” he told HSJ.

He said a CQC priority was to champion person centred care and “we make no apologies for giving proper weight to the views of patients”.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Andrew McCulloch backed the survey, saying he thought there was “a degree of complacency” on service quality.

“We’ve made good progress but a lot of chief executives are saying ‘we’re running world class services’ when they’re probably not,” he said.