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Accepting the Mental Health Taskforce challenge will lead to more people in work and a thriving economy – Dr Mike Prentice

Dr Mike Prentice is Medical Director for NHS England in the North.  In May this year, he chaired an event for the region, to kick-start the development of the North’s response to the Mental Health Taskforce Report.  This is the first in a series of regular blogs to give an update on developments in relation to mental health across the North region.

On 4 May, 115 delegates attended the event in Leeds where they heard from Chief Executive for MIND Paul Farmer and National Clinical Director for Mental Health for NHS England Professor Tim Kendall talk about the mental health ambition, vision and plans for the future.

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health presents a new and important focus for the NHS and a real opportunity for mental health services, and those using services, to move the mental health agenda on.  There will be challenges, particularly with regard to the workforce, in the delivery of the new and future mental health standards but there are also real gains to be had.  Not only in the service, care and experience of those using the services but also the mental wellbeing and improved lives of the population, which in turn will result in more people in work and a thriving economy.

The energy from colleagues and the appetite for change was clear.  Afternoon workshops were split into two parts, focusing on communications, relationships and collaborative delivery and making delivery happen.  You can see videos from Paul Farmer and Professor Tim Kendall along with slides from the event on Greater Manchester & East Cheshire Clinical Network’s website.

As a region we are developing a programme plan for mental health, which is aligned to the NHS Mandate; Planning Guidance; the Five Year Forward View; CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework; and the NHS England Business Plan.  We will be working closely with clinical networks, CCG and providers to deliver the priorities this year.  We have established a Mental Health and Dementia Programme Board focused on the delivery of the mental health standards and are scoping the need for a mental health group for Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) to look at the wider mental health strategy and critical themes such as workforce.


Dr Mike PrenticeMike is interim Medical Director (North) in NHS England.

He trained as a GP in the North East and was a partner in a large practice in Gateshead for 15 years before moving into full time medical management. He has a wide range of experience including in public health; as director of a GP co-operative; a governor of a Foundation Trust and has held a range of NHS board level positions since 1999.

Mike is interested in leadership, informatics, commissioning, and quality improvement. He is the current chair of the North East Leadership Academy and independent vice Chair of the Scottish NHS Pension Board.

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