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Excellent mental health policy needs to be delivered
Bringing improvement at “scale and pace” is key to NHS England’s future mental health services plan, a high-powered Westminster Health Forum has been told.
Dr Geraldine Strathdee told delegates at the keynote seminar in London: “I think we have a fantastic, a really excellent mental health policy. But it’s all about implementation.”
NHS England’s national clinical director for mental health added: “We now need to implement at scale and pace during what are hard economic times.
“For too long we have not thought about the causes of mental health. We need to think about what outcomes people want. And we know the public want knowledge about mental health issues and they want to understand more.
“What people are asking for are quality services. They want to know if the care they are going to receive is going to be safe, effective and fast.
“Our overarching national vision is tackling the causes of mental health and building literacy and prevention in individuals and communities.”
Dr Strathdee added: “We want to bring in international best practice in primary, community, acute and social and integrated care. And we need to move at scale and pace.
“We need to be a functional, whole system family – no one agency can deliver all this. And we need leaders with core competencies.
“The biggest problem we have is in the variation in the standard of services we provide. In one place we see brilliance, while a few doors away another team is struggling. We need to spread best practice.
“Wherever there is bureaucracy we need to find ways to tackle it so we can spend more time with service users. We need improved communication with service users where they are talking about their care and recovery. And we need to tackle the causes of mental health. “
Dr Strathdee called on employers, schools and colleges to become more aware of mental health issues to help with prevention and early intervention.
“Thinking communities are now working out the costs of NOT tackling mental health,” she added.
Other speakers at the seminar, entitled “Improving mental health outcomes: integrating services, parity of esteem, and patient-centred care”, included Professor Dame Sue Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
It is all too easy in mental health for the “professionals” to hide behind confidentiality and the patient.
When someone is seriously mentally ill and their thought processes are impaired what sort of advocacy do they have if family and carers are excluded?
Where are the guarantees that money will be spent fairly where it is needed and not allocated to those who shout the loudest?
Eating disorders is a case in point and should be openly and fully addressed.