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Mental health

BPS responds to new The King's Fund review on mental health care in England

The report exposes the stark divide between mental health demand and capacity.

21 February 2024

By BPS Communications

It explores nine core areas including prevalence, access, workforce, funding and costs, quality and patient experience, acute mental health care for adults, services for children and young people and inequalities and data.

In response, Dr Roman Raczka, President-Elect of the BPS, said:

“Demand for mental health services is at an all-time high, and while the investment in mental health services in England is positive, as highlighted in the report, this investment is not keeping pace with demand.

“We have consistently said that without the necessary workforce in place then the health service will be unable to meet demand. The commitments made to growing the workforce in the NHS workforce plan are welcome, however questions remain about what happens in the interim, until the new cohorts of clinical staff are recruited and trained, a point also made in the report.

“The report also documents the challenges facing the workforce, with staff shortages and difficulties with staff retention as increasing numbers leave the NHS, plus growing levels of staff sickness and burnout. This something we are acutely aware of through our campaign to save the NHS Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs.

“While progress has been made on expanding services and improving access there are still stark inequalities in those who are likely to develop mental health difficulties and their ability to access care and support, something which will only improve with systemic change and significant investment into the health service and community services.

"We also need to ensure a focus is placed on prevention and early intervention. Providing support to those in crisis is vital, but we can prevent many more people reaching that stage by focusing on the nation's wellbeing and preventative services.

A commitment to achieving parity of esteem between mental and physical health care was enshrined in the Health and Social Care Act 2012Unfortunately, we are a long way off meeting that commitment. Mental health must be far higher up the national priority list and be backed by the right levels of funding to ensure people can access the support and care they need.”

Read the full King's Fund report.  

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