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Mind comments on National Audit Office report on Mental Health Service

Wednesday, 08 February 2023 Mind

“These are the signs of a collapsing mental health system”

The National Audit Office (NAO) have released a report today on NHS mental health services. The report highlights numerous issues faced by NHS mental health services, including workforce pressures and struggles to meet targets for young people’s eating disorder services.

Gemma Byrne, Head of Health Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:

“Today’s NAO report makes it abundantly clear that, despite small improvements, mental health services are struggling. Bed occupancy levels are consistently unsafe, children are being cared for in the same wards as adults, and people are waiting for hours and even days in A&E for urgent mental health care. These are the signs of a collapsing mental health system.

“In addition, many people are reporting poor experiences of services - particularly young people, people from racialised communities, LGBT+ people and people with more complex needs. Mental health services should work for everyone, so no one is left behind. This requires the provision of culturally appropriate care.

“We’re also incredibly concerned about workforce shortages and the lack of a long-term workforce strategy. A workforce that can care for people effectively is an essential building block of any fit-for-purpose health care service. Current levels of staffing are unsafe both for those who need care, and those who are giving it.

“The report is right to highlight how historic underfunding is restricting the efforts of numerous NHS trusts and Integrated Care Boards across the country to improve mental health services. The gap between what funding is needed for even the most basic maintenance of estates and what’s actually being spent is growing every day.

“The alarm bells have been ringing for a long time – it’s time the UK government paid attention to them. To tackle these issues, we need to see bold political leadership and understanding of the scale of the country’s mental health emergency, including adequate funding for mental health services and a long term, cross government vision for the nation’s mental health.”

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