MPs and peers highlight major pressures on mental health services

19 January 2023

Responding to a report of the Joint committee on the draft Mental Health Bill, NHS Providers interim chief executive Saffron Cordery said:

"The committee is right that vital reforms to mental health legislation must be introduced as quickly as possible. These are long overdue.

"The report rightly highlights the considerable pressure that mental health services are under. Long-term, sustainable investment and support for the sector are needed to improve how and where people access high quality mental health care.

"Mental health services are already overstretched, and proper resourcing and implementation of the proposed reforms will be crucial. In particular, focus is needed on delivering high-quality alternatives in the community to in-patient care and developing enough workforce capacity across the sector.

"Trust leaders share the committee's concerns about the lack of improvement, and worsening by some measures, in racial equalities. They will welcome more action to help address this, including improving collection and publication of data in line with what is already taking place or planned in the near future.

"We support also the committee's proposals to help ensure community improvements for, and stronger safeguards against inappropriate detention of, people with a learning disability and autistic people. Swift improvement in community care that enables the system to better meet the needs of these individuals in the community is vital to stopping people being detained if they don't have a mental illness.

"Beyond legislative changes, action is needed to improve people's access to and outcomes from mental health services including greater capital funding and more money for public services."

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