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Independents' Day

NHS to treat extra one million mental health patients by 2020/21

The NHS will be able to treat an extra one million mental health patients annually by 2020/21, the Government has announced.

Announcing a new mental health workforce strategy, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said 21,000 new posts will be created by 2020/21, as set out in the NHS’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

This will include trained nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, peer support workers and other mental health professionals in priority areas where shortfalls are forecast due to increasing demand on services.

Mr Hunt said this is part of the Government's £1.3bn commitment to transform mental health services and end the ‘historic imbalance’ between physical and mental health treatment capacity.

This will include:

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services(CAMHS) will receive 2,000 additional nurses, consultants and therapist;
  • Adult talking therapies will be expanded with 2,900 additional therapists and other allied health professionals;
  • Crisis care settings will receive an additional 4,600 nurses and 200 therapists; and
  • Perinatal mental health support, liaison and diversion teams and early intervention teams working with people at risk of psychosis should also see increases.

The plans, developed by Health Education England (HEE) together with NHS Improvement, NHS England and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, will also see efforts to improve mental health staff recruitment and retention.

Mr Hunt said: 'We want people with mental health conditions to receive better treatment, and part of that means having the right NHS staff. We know we need to do much more to attract, retain and support the mental health workforce of the future – today is the first step to address this historic imbalance in workforce planning.'

But Labour's shadow minister for mental health Barbara Keeley said that the the workforce plan provided 'no real answers on how these new posts will be funded or how recruitment issues will be overcome'.

She also said it offered 'little hope to those working in the sector faced with mounting workloads, low pay and poor morale'.

Ms Keeley added: 'Once again this Tory Government is promising only jam tomorrow, when what is needed is action today to tackle the staffing crisis in mental health.'

The news also comes as Pulse recently revealed that a number of CCGs are cutting spending on mental health services this year, despite being told to invest in services to bring them up to a par with physical health.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Cobblers

    21000 new mental healthcare posts!! Along with the 5000 new GPs (make that 5500 as 500 GPs have left last year)

    Har har. The moon's a balloon.

    "And they're coming to take me away ha-haaa
    They're coming to take me away ho-ho hee-hee ha-haaa
    To the funny farm
    Where life is beautiful all the time
    And I'll be happy to see those nice young men
    In their clean white coats
    And they're coming to take me away ha-haaa"

    Oh dear.

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  • Lot of blabber with interesting promise he made on BBC this morning - a 2 billion investment to treat 1 million new MH patients.
    He promised 20000 nursing posts but the sums did not add up for Naga/BBC?. When he could not explain a shortfall of 7000 nurses, Hunt finally ended up saying that these are other allied health professionals including Psychiatrist who are not working in the NHS and he would like to 'attract' them.
    I now sit here picturing a sunflower with a smug countenance in the middle alluring bumble bees:)) Be aware, looking at the track record, the nectar could be poisonous !

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  • Not a fan of over regulation but...

    The politician charlatans involved in the NHS NEED REGULATING!!!

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  • Is anyone possibly asking why we need to treat so many more mental health problems in the population? Of course, right wing political ideology, austerity and slashing of wider support services has NOTHING to do with it.

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  • AlanAlmond

    Maybe we need a media blitz from junior members of the royal family to highlight the problems we have with indemnity fees, as they did recently with mental health, maybe then Jeremy will appear on TV and make flashy promises about indemnity stuff he thinks will sound good on telly but won't happen because it is someone else's responsibility and by the way he doesn't care anyway because he doesn't think we need GPs and besides he's rich enough to buy his own Dr/nurse/psychologist/physio/chauffeur when he needs one.

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  • Deluded narcissist conjuring numbers out of a hat.

    The NHS I'm working in is falling apart. No answer to telephone at local hospital, answerphones that are full and cant leave a message. Waiting lists bursting. Colleagues burning out. Colleges and BMA fiddling while Rome burns.

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  • Direction 1:
    the NHS: under-resourced and lacking in trained doctors and nursing

    Direction 2 (the opposite direction):
    Western culture: existential fears, over-diagnosis and over-medicalization.

    Dr McCartney is right. Let us do what evidence tells us brings more benefits than harms. Otherwise interventionism is unhelpful at individual and societal levels.

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