The disparity in the quality and availability of mental health services is a longstanding issue, despite mental health being the single largest cause of disability in the UK, contributing 23% of the disease burden.
An independent report of the Mental Health Taskforce, commissioned by NHS England’s Chief Executive Simon Stevens, The Five Year forward View for Mental Health sets out a number of priority areas for action including improving crisis care and physical health outcomes.
In response to this in July 2016 NHS England published an Implementation Plan of actions required to deliver the priorities in the report. The plan brings together all the health partners to ensure there is cross-system working to meet the recommendations made by the Taskforce.
The South East region have established a Mental Health Priority Programme, jointly chaired by Lisa Manson from NHS Improvement and David Radbourne from NHS England (Hampshire and Thames Valley), bringing together partners to deliver the priorities in the implementation plan.
More specifically, it is putting in place the building blocks required to invest the extra funding for mental health and place sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) along with associated Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) in the best possible state to deliver on the priorities. The emphasis of the programme is service development and transformation, including:
- Oversight of the recovery and ongoing sustainability of the NHS constitutional standards at local and regional level for mental health.
- The transformation of mental health services, in line with the ambitions set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.
- Enabling STP leaders and commissioners to understand their responsibilities and correctly allocate funds for provision of mental health services.
- Ensuring the delivery of support via clinical networks and the national Intensive Support Team.
- Communication across the region of mental health policy and obligations.
- Identification of any systematic under-provision or over-provision of mental health capacity so strategic action can be taken to correct any mismatch of need and supply.