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11.06.20

NHS Providers: Support needed to meet mental health services demands

With the publication of evidence-based research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies into the additional demands on mental health services as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic, NHS Providers Deputy Chief Executive Saffron Cordery has called for more support to be made available.

Concerns had already been raised previously regarding the additional strain on mental health services as a result of Covid-19 and the impacts that not only the virus, but also the strict restrictions, isolation and measures that have been put in place to combat it, could be having on people around the country.

Ms Cordery said: “We welcome the report published by IFS today. It is really important that we gather as much evidence as possible on the impact of Covid-19 on people’s mental health and wellbeing and understand groups that are being particularly affected. This will help ensure the health response is directed to providing the support and care that best meets people’s needs.

"Today's findings complement concerns we highlighted in our recent report around a predicted surge in demand for mental health care as a result of the direct and indirect impacts of Covid-19, particularly as lockdown eases. We also already know that Covid-19 disproportionally affects certain groups.

"Mental health trusts are already beginning to report a significant increase in demand and the severity of new referrals. This is happening in a context where demand for services is already outstripping supply despite substantial progress, with new services and higher levels of investment.

"Without adequate support from government and national policy makers, there is a risk that the impact of Covid-19 will make the current care deficit in mental health provision even greater. The size and complexity of the challenge facing mental health trusts cannot be underestimated and will require effective prioritisation.

"To meet the extra demand created by the pandemic, it is vital that mental health trusts and key services provided by local authorities and the third sector receive sufficient funding and it reaches the frontline services that need it most. Trusts also need capital funding to expand services and improve the mental health estate. A new workable strategic national plan for the mental health workforce is also crucial."

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