Mind responds to Hewitt review of Integrated Care Systems
An independent report, reviewing the governance and oversight of England’s Integrated Care Systems and written by former health secretary, Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, has been published.
The report makes a number of recognitions and recommendations relevant to mental health services, namely:
It recognises there is much further to go to achieve parity of esteem between mental health and physical health.
It recommends that the Mental Health Investment Standard (MHIS) remains in place.
It strongly urges that the necessary focus on reducing elective care waits be matched by an equal focus on reducing waiting times for acute mental health treatment.
It suggests reducing the number of national targets the NHS has to achieve.
It recommends giving much more autonomy to the 42 Integrated Care Systems to determine their own local priorities.
Commenting on the report, Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“The Hewitt Review marks an important milestone in the development of England’s Integrated Care Systems, giving them much more autonomy to determine their local priorities. The key test will be how far these reforms go to deliver better support for people with mental health problems.
“For too long, people with mental health problems have struggled to access timely, evidence-based care and support due to decades of underinvestment in services. While there has been progress in recent years, the Hewitt Review is right to recognise that there is much further to go to achieve true “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health.
“For these reasons, it’s also welcome that the Hewitt review recognises the value of the Mental Health Investment Standard, and recommends it remains in place. The MHIS, alongside clear national targets, has given mental health services a chance to progress by promising them a higher proportion of any new NHS spending. This has contributed to more people being able to get the help they need, when they need it.
“Given the successful track record of clear national targets, there are risks in the Hewitt Review’s recommendation to radically reduce the number of national targets the NHS has to achieve. We know that mental health continues to be a priority for the public, but Mind’s own analysis shows huge variation in how Integrated Care Systems are addressing and prioritising mental health. Without those national targets, we are concerned that the Integrated Care Systems who are not yet consistently addressing mental health in an effective way could fall further behind, causing a postcode lottery for who gets the mental health support they need.
“We believe all Integrated Care Systems now need to show leadership and ambition in putting mental health at the heart of their local plans. There needs to be full transparency in what they are delivering on mental health and ICSs need to be held to account if they do not continue to take steps towards parity of esteem."