The government has unveiled plans to expand National Health Service (NHS) mental health services.
On 31st July 2017, the Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has promised £1.3bn funding to provide England with 21,000 more mental health staff, such as nurses, psychiatrists, therapists, peer support workers and other mental health professionals, to ease bed occupancy rates and reduce waiting times.
The aim of the plan is to treat an extra 1 million people by 2021, provide mental health services 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and properly integrate mental and physical health services.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists and NHS managers have welcomed the announcement, but the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the plans did not add up, and more "hard cash" would be needed if the new staff were to be trained in time.
Jeremy Hunt said that the plans are ambitions to motivate 4,000 psychiatrists into the workforce, 2,000 more professionals for children’s and young people’s mental health and 3,000 staff dedicated to depression and anxiety services.
Danny Mortimer, the Chief executive of NHS Employers said it is always welcome that the government is setting this impressive ambition and investment in the mental health workforce.
He further added that if these nurses were going to be ready in time, they would be starting training next month.
Dr Gary Wannan, the deputy chair of the BMA Consultants Committee said that the mental health provision has been historically underfunded, so commitments to bring the funding and accessibility of psychiatric services into line with physical health are welcome.
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