The NHS has published the long term plan which sets out its strategy for the next decade, as well as detailing how it will spend the Government’s pledged additional investment for the next five years. The plan follows the June 2018 announcement made by Prime Minister Theresa May of an extra £20bn for the health service, and focusses on ten key areas including prevention, access and recovery.
Mind has been clear that it wants to see mental health spending grow faster than the overall increase in NHS funding, to close the gap in mental health services and meet the growing need. We are therefore pleased that the plan includes a commitment of £2.3bn a year towards mental health, to help redress the balance. The plan promises that this money will see around two million more people with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems receive help, including new parents, and 24 hour access to crisis care.
The plan also includes a guarantee that investment in primary, community and mental health care will grow faster than the growing overall NHS budget, so that different parts of the NHS come together to provide better, joined up care in partnership with local government.
Since the funding announcement in the summer, Mind has been working with the NHS, Government and voluntary sector to help shape the long term plan. This longer term strategy was developed in consultation with people with mental health problems to ensure their views are reflected, and aims to take over and build on the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, a series of recommendations published in 2016 by a mental health taskforce chaired by Mind’s CEO Paul Farmer.
Welcoming the long term plan, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“We are really pleased to see that mental health is such a key focus in the NHS long term plan and we welcome the £2.3bn set aside for mental health services. This is the kind of sustained investment we need to see to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health and, if delivered, this plan will make a difference to the lives of thousands of people with mental health problems.
“Everyone now needs to work together to develop the workforce needed and to deliver these plans and to ensure the money reaches the frontline. Local decision makers need to develop their own plans and the proof of delivery will be in the experiences of people trying to access the services they need."
Mental Health Policy Group responds to NHS long term plan
"On behalf of the Mental Health Policy Group, we support the ambition to achieve a world class mental health service, which has rightly been given the attention it deserves in the NHS Long Term Plan. We welcome the commitment for mental health services to grow at a faster rate than the overall NHS budget, with a new ringfenced local investment fund worth at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24.
"If delivered in full, the proposals should help children and young people stand a better chance of receiving the best start in life, help prevent mental health problems from developing later in childhood, and deliver far less fragmented mental health care.
"We’re also pleased to see a focus on improving services for people living with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder by increasing access to mental health services in the community, as well as a continuing commitment to improve crisis care so that more people can access care and support where and when they need it. None of this is possible without us expanding the mental health workforce, including that of the voluntary and community sector.
"However, we should not under-estimate the scale of the challenge in ensuring that the money ear-marked for mental health reaches the frontline and that national policy is translated in local action. And, of course, in order to truly transform the experience of people with mental health problems, we need a cross-government approach so that problems people face in accessing support from other public services including public health, social care, housing and the benefits system are effectively tackled through the spending review in 2019.”
Professor Wendy Burn, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Sean Duggan, Chief Executive, Mental Health Network
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind
Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation
Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness