New taskforce for Mental Health announced

The announcement of the Mental Health Taskforce shows that mental health is now at the leading edge of transforming England’s health system.

It also means that mental health is at the forefront of delivering the NHS Five Year Forward View modernisation.

People who have experienced mental ill health, those who commission and provide services, academics and professional leaders who make up the taskforce will be shaping these changes.

The taskforce will identify the best ways to provide people and communities with the information and support they need to develop good mental health and resilience. Those communities and their services can protect people from the preventable causes of mental ill health, and the taskforce aims to make this happen at scale.
It also aims to provide a road map to improved access to services with early detection and access to timely, effective, personalised, compassionate care for all mental health conditions, in acute, primary care and specialist settings.

The taskforce will break down the barriers between mental and physical health care to make sure that people’s minds and bodies are assessed, treated and supported together. This will involve ending the stigma and exclusion of the mentally ill in the healthcare system and improve radically, their life opportunities and outcomes.

To develop the vision and implementation programme, the team will use the latest international scientific and economic knowledge. It will identify the best commissioning and provision of support and spread what works, so that people can expect the same high standards of care, across the country.

This work is needed because although mental ill health is very common awareness about what causes, prevents and treats it is relatively limited. There has been a culture of stigma, and even fear about mental illness, in society and among health professionals. This is changing, as courageous, high profile political and celebrity figures have spoken out about their illnesses.

In primary care, where many people first go to seek help, mental ill health accounts for one third of the daily work of each practice. Yet, less than a third of GPs and less than one per cent of practice nurses have had support to access mental health training.

There are outstanding examples of excellent care across the country but the level of variation needs to be addressed thorough ‘industrial’ improvement programmes, and this will be a key focus for the taskforce.

The work of this taskforce has the power to transform the lives of millions. It is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to deliver the recommendations to the Five Year Forward View partners to realise that ambition.

Read more about the taskforce.

More articles     Posted on: 27 March 2015