NHS Providers responds to proposed mental health reforms in Queen's Speech

10 May 2022

Responding to proposed new measures to reform mental health legislation set out in today's Queen's Speech, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers Miriam Deakin said:

"Trust leaders will welcome the announcement in today's Queen's Speech that ministers will publish proposals to reform the Mental Health Act. Reform here is long overdue and we are pleased, as we mark Mental health awareness week, that this is a priority for the government.

"We support proposed changes to the act that will give people a greater say in planning their care and recovery. It will be important for the bill to reflect consideration of the practical implementation of a number of proposals.

"A new Mental Health Act on its own won't be enough to guarantee high-quality mental health services or transform the way we deliver them for years to come. Mental health services are under severe strain from huge demand and limited resources.

"COVID-19 has left a significant legacy on the nation's mental health, particularly for children and young people, and the effects of poor mental health are expected to last longer than in some other areas of care.

"The pandemic has taken its toll on overstretched NHS staff too, with the soaring cost of living now adding more pressure. Trusts are working hard to safeguard the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce, but we need a long-term plan to attract and retain staff as well as more support.

"We must address too mental health inequalities between people from different sections of society – especially Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities for whom the pandemic has exacerbated longstanding inequalities – and work to improve their access to services and outcomes.

"Coming hard on the heels of the biggest health service reforms for more than 10 years under the new Health and Care Act, we look forward to seeing detailed government proposals to reform the Mental Health Act as soon as possible."