In October 2020, NHS England published its Advancing Mental Health Equalities Strategy, laying out plans for addressing inequalities in access, experience, and outcomes in mental health care. The aim of the strategy is to make mental health care fairer, bridging the gap of inequalities as aligned to the NHS Long Term Plan priorities.
The strategy summarises the core actions that we all need to take address inequalities and improve care for communities faring worse than others in mental health services. It sets out three avenues to achieve this:
- Supporting local health systems to advance equalities
- Improving the quality and use of data to inform decision making, and
- Creating a diverse and representative workforce which is equipped with the capabilities to achieve change
The strategy is overseen by the Advancing Mental Health Equalities Taskforce, chaired by NHS England Mental Health Equalities Advisor, Dr Jacqui Dyer.
Formed in February 2020, the Taskforce meets on a quarterly basis, with membership from mental health leaders and experts by experience, who have identified a number of short and longer term priorities to support advancements in access, experience and outcomes for communities experiencing inequalities in mental health services. The Taskforce works closely with patients, carers, and other key stakeholders, including communities with protected characteristics and other health inclusion groups.
With the introduction of integrated care systems (ICSs) and their statutory requirement to commit to reducing health inequalities, NHS England is working closely with colleagues across the country to refresh our priorities on this topic. We are also ensuring all our work is aligned with the Core20PLUS5, NHS England’s approach to reducing healthcare inequalities at both national and system level.
“Every single person working in mental health has a role to play in making our services and systems fairer and challenging racism in all its forms”.
“We have been steadfast in our determination to improve access, experience and outcomes for all populations across the country.”
“I am hopeful that the Patients and Carers Race Equality Framework will improve ethnic minority patients’ experiences of seeking mental health support in England. ”
“Real change to end systemic injustice requires action by the system itself – but in partnership with the people who have everyday experiences of the injustice.”