6. Improve mental health services and services for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people

Mental health

The NHS is halfway through its ambitious transformation programme for mental health and great progress has already been achieved. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant consequences for mental health. COVID recovery in mental health is not limited to clearing the ‘backlog’; it also requires finding ways to manage increased prevalence, acuity and complexity. These pressures have widened the treatment gap for people with a mental health condition and addressing them will require sustained effort to further transform and expand mental health services.

Our commitments for 2022/23

Expanding access and recovering performance standards

  • Support the continued rollout of crisis services.
  • Further increase access for children and young people (CYP) aged 0 to 25 years  through mental health support teams and community mental health services.
  • Expand access to Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) and continue the expansion of the workforce.
  • Work across all systems to support demand and capacity management in light of increased prevalence, including supporting the recovery of waiting times standards in CYP community eating disorder services.

Supporting new models of care

  • Support the delivery of new models of community mental health services integrated with primary care and increasing the number of adults and older adults with severe mental illness (SMI) who receive care.
  • Oversee the expansion of liaison services and development of joint investment plans between mental health and ambulance commissioners.
  • Support systems to develop multi-year mental health workforce plans that will enable the transformation and expansion of mental health services to deliver the full scope of the Mental Health Long Term Plan.

Learning disability and autism

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the physical and mental health of people with a learning disability and autistic people, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

This means there is much more to do to improve the physical and mental health of people with a learning disability and autistic people, including by ensure they have access to reasonably adjusted care across the NHS.

Our commitments for 2022/23

  • Support further development of community alternatives to help reduce the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in mental health inpatient care.
  • Support the delivery of keyworkers for children and young people at risk of admission to a mental health hospital or who are in hospital to ensure a key keyworker service in all integrated care systems (ICSs).
  • Support the improved uptake of learning disability annual health checks (for eligible people aged 14 and over), supporting innovations in autism diagnostic pathways to improve quality and access, and delivery of the LeDeR programme.
  • Ensure that reasonable adjustments are provided to support accessibility for autistic people and people with a learning disability, including the ongoing development of the reasonable adjustments digital flag and pre and post-diagnostic support.
Next page: Deliver improvements in maternity care

You can download a PDF version of our 2022/23 business plan here