NHS England commits to “major transformation” of mental health care

The NHSin England has committed to the biggest transformation of mental health careacross the NHS in a generation, pledging to help more than a million extrapeople and investing more than a billion pounds a year by 2020/21.

It ismaking the move in response to the final report of an independent taskforce, chairedby the Chief Executive of Mind Paul Farmer, set up by the NHS as part of itsFive Year Forward View to build consensus on how to improve services for peopleof all ages.

Thetaskforce gives a frank assessment of the state of current mental health careacross the NHS, highlighting that one in four people will experience a mentalhealth problem in their lifetime and the cost of mental ill health to theeconomy, NHS and society is £105bn a year.

In a wideranging package of recommendations, it proposes a three-pronged approach toimproving care through prevention, the expansion of mental health care such asseven day access in a crisis, and integrated physical and mental health care.

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

SimonStevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “One in four of us will suffer fromdepression, anxiety or other mental health problem, but mental health serviceshave historically been the NHS’ poor relation. Putting mental and physicalhealth on an equal footing will require major improvements in seven day mentalhealth crisis care, a large increase in psychological treatments, and a moreintegrated approach to how services are delivered. That’s what today’staskforce report calls for, and it’s what the NHS is now committed topursuing.”

PrimeMinister David Cameron said: “For too long there hasn’t been enough focus on mentalhealth care in this country meaning too many have had to suffer in silence.

“TheTaskforce has set out how we can work towards putting mental and physicalhealthcare on an equal footing and I am committed to making sure that happens.

“Thismeans that if you are struggling with a mental health condition you will getthe help and support you need.”