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Half of A&Es to have specialist mental health teams by 2019

Plans to implement 24-hour specialist mental health teams in almost half of A&Es across the country have been revealed by NHS England, who hope for the scheme to cover five times more A&Es than now by March 2019.

The service is currently operating in only 10% of emergency departments, but NHS England say they hope to instate it into nearly half in two years.

The news was announced in NHS England’s update to the Five Year Forward View, which outlined a number of new aims and initiatives to tackle chronic problems within mental health care nationally.

The new plan reported: “The NHS Five Year Forward View pointed out that one in four of us will experience mental health problems, and mental illness is the single largest cause of disability. Yet mental health services have for several decades been the ‘poor relation’ compared to acute hospital services for physical conditions.

“Fortunately, there is now good evidence that tackling some major mental health problems early reduces subsequent problems, improves people’s life chances, and also saves money for the wider economy.”

NHS England will look to improve the number of ‘talking’ therapies offered by the NHS, as 60,000 more people will receive these services by the end of 2017-18, rising to 200,000 more people getting care by the end of 2018-19.

New frameworks to facilitate faster access to digital therapies are also to be developed by NHS England alongside NICE.

Improvement to mental care services for new mothers will also be put in place as four new mother and baby units will be opened, with 20 new or expanded specialist perinatal mental health teams. Bed numbers in the current 15 units are also aiming to be expanded by 49% by 2018-19.

Finally, a new specialist Transition, Intervention and Liaison mental health service will be put in place for returning veterans suffering from issues with their mental health.

Responding to NHS England’s announcement of a new mental health service for ex-armed forces veterans and service personnel who are approaching discharge, Mental Health Network CEO Sean Duggan said: “It is vital that mainstream mental health services are 100% accessible to veterans, as this can make a huge difference to their quality of life.

“The funding from NHS England is very welcome, as are the benefits of teaming up with other organisations – in this case the MoD – to better understand how we can help people suffering from mental health issues.”



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