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Thousands sent out of area to receive mental health care, according to NHS data

Friday, 25 January 2019 Mind

The NHS has released their latest set of data to show how they are performing when it comes to delivering mental health services. Regularly publishing these data forms part of their commitment to delivering promises outlined in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, including greater transparency and monitoring of progress.

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, which Mind’s CEO Paul Farmer fed into by chairing an independent taskforce, set out how the NHS would improve mental health services over the five years to 2020/21. It promised an extra £1.6bn to help a million people with mental health problems. By 2021, many more people should be getting treatment when they first seek support instead of having to wait a damagingly long time for help. 

The key statistics from the data for the first three months of 2018 show:

  • 1925 people who were inappropriately treated for mental health problems miles from home (against an ambition of zero inappropriate ‘out of area placements’ by 2021)
  • For the first time, 100 per cent of Clinical Commissioning Groups in England (the organisations responsible for planning and buying local health care services) are on track to meet the level of spending they committed to as part of the Mental Health Investment Standard
  • Three in four (75 per cent) children and young people with an eating disorder are getting treatment within a week in urgent cases (against a target of 95 per cent by 2021) 
  • Almost one in two (49.5 per cent) members of BAME communities who received talking therapy through the NHS said they felt better because of it – bringing this figure much nearer to the recovery rate for the rest of the population who had also had this therapy

Responding to these data, Geoff Heyes, Head of Health Policy and Influencing at Mind, said:

“It is good to see that all Clinical Commissioning Groups across England are now meeting the Mental Health Investment Standard and are increasing the proportion of money they spend on mental health services. We also particularly welcome the reported improvements to talking therapies for people from BAME communities. This brings the recovery rate for these groups much closer to the same level as the rest of the population attending the same therapies, as it should be.

“However, the data also show that there is a huge amount of work still to do before everyone gets high quality mental health care and support. Far too many people are still being forced to travel hundreds of miles from their home, friends and family to receive the treatment they need, which, as well as being expensive, can worsen chances of recovery. There are still gaps in the data, and we would like to see more information on key areas like crisis care and mental health support in A&E departments. These are vital services and it’s important we see that local investment is resulting in better outcomes for people in need of urgent mental health support.

“The true test of how well mental health services are performing is in people’s experiences – whether it’s helping prevent people developing mental health problems in the first place to ensuring those of us who do get the right support at the right time. The NHS has rightly set itself ambitious targets for improving mental health care and the year ahead will be crucial to delivering on these, with the improvements being felt by those of us using services on the ground."

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