21,000 extra staff to deal with mental health crisis

Posted on July 31, 2017
NHS speaker

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for health, today announced a drive to get 21,000 extra staff in to deal with the Mental Health crisis in the NHS by getting in more Psychiatrists and Nurses in to treat patients every day of the week.

The aim is to do this by 2021. As a mental health legal practitioner, one of the biggest things I bemoan is the fact that the NHS is severely stretched when it comes to dealing with people who suffer from mental health conditions. I see a clear difference in care between those who are in NHS hospitals and those who are in privately run facilities.

Though this commitment is welcomed in helping to deal with the ongoing crisis suffered by those who have mental health conditions, the target of 2021 in my opinion is one that will almost certainly not be met. We must look at the fact that NHS staff have left in their droves over the past 5 years and this coupled with the 1% pay cap does not bode well for this target being achieved.

In addition, having extra staff in hospitals although again welcomed (especially when dealing with Children and Young people detained under the Mental Health Act) does not address the issue surrounding the type of aftercare that people receive once they are discharged from hospital.

I deal with Social Workers / Care Coordinators on a consistent basis and one of the biggest issues is the fact that there is a shortage of facilities and care available for those who are discharged from detention under the Mental Health Act.

There is a real need to increase the amount of aftercare provision afforded to people who have been under Mental Health Services. This is what leads to a deterioration for people out in the community who then return back to into mental health care and thus increase the strain on inpatient services.

The issue needs to be looked at from entry to exit point and look not only at what happens for patients in hospital but crucially what happens when they are out in the community. 21,000 extra staff is great but we need a firmer commitment from the Government to improve on aftercare services to ensure that those with mental health conditions can be assisted both at the point of entry and even more so when they leave the hospital.

Umar Kankiya
Head of Mental Health / Solicitor
Member of the Mental Health Accreditation Scheme

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