Mental health services will receive £120 million in additional funding to deliver ‘parity’ between mental and physical health services within the next five years, NHS England has announced.
The funding will go towards establishing new early intervention services and meeting six- and 18-week waiting targets, plus a new target for patients suffering a first episode of psychosis to receive NICE-approved help within two weeks.
NHS England also said it would invest in more liaison psychiatry services in acute hospitals, spending £7 million on inpatient beds for children and young person’s mental health services and better physical health care for those with mental health disorders.
The move came after Pulse revealed that a fifth of GPs have seen patients come to harm as they were unable to access appropriate support from their community mental health teams, with some patients committing suicide, being sectioned or admitted as a result.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, said: ‘We will bring parity of esteem for mental health services a step closer. Putting access and waiting standards in place across all mental health services, and delivering better integration of physical and mental health care by 2020, will bring us much closer towards that aim.’
Deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg said the current system ‘was letting patients down’.
He added: ‘It’s wrong that relatives and friends needing a hip operation can expect treatment within a clear timeframe, but someone with a debilitating mental health condition has no clarity about when they will get help.’