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.