Urgent action needed to deliver on mental health ambitions

28 September 2017


The Centre for Mental Health and the NHS Benchmarking Network has today published a report which warns that a drop in mental health inpatient beds coupled with a fall in community care provision is a "great concern" that requires an urgent review.

It found that acute adult inpatient bed numbers fell by 15% from a median of 23 per 100,000 population in 2012/13 to 19.6 in 2015/16. It also found that bed occupancy had risen from 91% to 94% during the same period, while staff numbers had fallen.

Responding to the report, NHS Providers director of policy and strategy, Saffron Cordery, said:

"We welcome this report which uses robust evidence to highlight the challenges faced on the frontline. It reveals a potent mix of rising demand, with increased numbers of inpatients and bed occupancy running at more than 100%, at a time of worrying gaps in the workforce and reduced community support.

We need urgent action to deliver on the ambitions set out in the Five year forward view for mental health

"This reinforces the messages from our recent report, The state of the NHS provider sector, which focused on the growing pressures on mental health services, as reported by NHS mental health trust leaders, and pointed to a growing gap between the government's welcome ambition for the care of people with mental health needs and the substantial challenges facing core mental health services. It also revealed deep concerns that money earmarked for mental health was not reaching the front line.

"We recognise the progress that has been made in highlighting the stigma of mental ill health and the priority it has been given within the NHS. But we need urgent action to deliver on the ambitions set out in the Five year forward view for mental health. Although we know that many mental health trusts are delivering against the odds, there is a long way to go until this has the desired impact up and down the country. We must not under-estimate the scale of the challenges we face."

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