NHS commits to mental health care with help for a million more people

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The NHS in England this week (15th February) committed to the biggest transformation of mental health care across the NHS in a generation, pledging to help more than a million extra people and investing more than a billion pounds a year by 2020/21.

It is making the move in response to the final report of an independent taskforce, chaired by the Chief Executive of Mind Paul Farmer, set up by the NHS as part of its Five Year Forward View to build consensus on how to improve services for people of all ages.

The taskforce gives a frank assessment of the state of current mental health care across the NHS, highlighting that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime and the cost of mental ill health to the economy, NHS and society is £105bn a year.

In a wide ranging package of recommendations, it proposes a three-pronged approach to improving care through prevention, the expansion of mental health care such as seven day access in a crisis, and integrated physical and mental health care. At present only half of the country offers a 24/7 community-based mental health crisis service.

The taskforce suggests, and the NHS accepts, investing over £1bn a year of additional funding in NHS care by 2020/21 to reach one million more people – this investment is in addition to the previously announced new funding for children, young people and perinatal care.

It’s been shared this week that:

  • by 2020, new funding should increase access to evidence-based psychological therapies to reach 25% of need, helping 600,000 more people access care
  • by 2020, at least 280,000 more people living with severe mental health problems should have improved support for their physical health
  • the £1.4bn (over five years) committed for children and young people’s (CYP) mental health should be invested to ensure that by 2020 at least 70,000 more children and young people have access to high quality care
  • new funding should ensure by 2020/21 no acute hospital is without all-age mental health liaison services in emergency departments and inpatient wards
  • new funding should be invested to support at least 30,000 more women each year to access evidence-based specialist mental health care in the perinatal period
  • To reduce suicides by 10% by 2020 all areas should have multi-agency suicide prevention plans in place by 2017 that are reviewed annually.

Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “One in four of us will suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health problem, but mental health services have historically been the NHS’ poor relation.

“Putting mental and physical health on an equal footing will require major improvements in seven day mental health crisis care, a large increase in psychological treatments, and a more integrated approach to how services are delivered. That’s what today’s taskforce report calls for, and it’s what the NHS is now committed to pursuing.”

Content credited to NHS England

Published 20th February, 2016

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