NHS bosses warn of mental health crisis with long waits for treatment

Mental health services are so overwhelmed by soaring demand that patients are facing long delays to access care, a powerful group of NHS mental health trust bosses have warned.

Widespread shortages of specialist nurses and psychiatrists mean Theresa May’s pledge to tackle the “burning injustice of mental illness” is at risk according to chief executives and chairs from 37 of England’s 53 specialist mental health trusts.

Their concerns are contained in a new report by NHS Providers, which represents almost all of England’s 240 NHS hospital, mental health and ambulance trusts. The report concludes that children, older people and people in a mental health crisis too often receive inadequate care for conditions such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

“These concerns point to a growing gap between the government’s welcome ambition for the care of people with mental health needs and the reality of services they are receiving on the frontline,” said Saffron Cordery, NHS Providers’ director of policy and strategy.

“In some cases core mental health service provision by mental health trusts is actually getting worse,” she added.

Eighty per cent of bosses of NHS trusts in England it surveyed fear they will have too little money this year to provide timely, high-quality care to the growing numbers of people seeking mental health support. Many do not believe that the more than £1bn of extra funding pledged by ministers is reaching its intended destination.

Article from The Guardian, July 7 2017