Today the UK Government and NHS has published their plans to tackle the unprecedented 6 million-strong backlog of people awaiting non-urgent hospital treatment, mainly surgery, in England.
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy, Campaigns and Public Affairs said:
“We are disappointed that the UK Government’s NHS elective recovery plan is not accompanied by an ambitious recovery plan for mental health. The pandemic has seen an escalation in mental health problems with 1.6 million people now on the waiting list for treatment from mental health services, plus a further 8 million who can’t get on the waiting list because they’re not deemed unwell enough but could benefit from support. Today’s plan does nothing to address this treatment gap. Mental health services are overstretched and face a real-terms drop in funding in April – in stark contrast to the areas covered by the elective recovery plan.
“Without significant investment in mental health services and social care and a clear plan for recruiting, training and retaining staffing, millions of people – including children and young people - will miss out on critical support in the coming years. The pandemic has taken a great toll on the mental health of the nation, with many people experiencing a worsening of pre-existing mental health problems while others are struggling with their mental health for the first time.
"What is needed urgently is a cross-Government plan to tackle the mental health backlog, alongside additional funding to support people experiencing mental health problems earlier on before they reach crisis point and treatment becomes both more intensive and expensive.”
Mental health services Parliament