Public Health

24.04.19

NHS England to expand jobs scheme for mental health patients

NHS England (NHSE) has announced a major expansion of a landmark scheme designed to help patients with serious mental health problems find employment.

The voluntary scheme, known as the Individual Placement and Support service (IPS), is to be rolled out to 28 new local NHS areas, and access is expected to double to 20,000 per year by 2021.

NHSE said the scheme will continue to expand beyond this as part of the NHS Long-Term Plan, and will be helping 55,000 people year by 2023-24.

Claire Murdoch, NHSE’s national mental health director, said: “The goals and aspirations of someone living with severe mental illness are the same as anyone else’s – steady employment and an active life.

“As the NHS Long-Term Plan makes clear – stable employment is a major factor in maintaining good health and is an important outcome for recovery.”

Employment specialists offering coaching and advice are made available, helping patients find a job and prepare for interviews. They can also search for jobs and engage with employers directly on patient’s behalf - “acting as a crucial link between patient, their employer and medical team.”

Prime minister Theresa May commented: “Helping those with mental ill health back into work is one of the best ways to ensure their health and happiness in the long term. This scheme is another important step forward in achieving that goal.

“The government is working hard to ensure genuine parity of esteem between physical and mental health conditions, and our long-term plan will make the NHS a world leader in the care and support we provide to those who need it.”

NHSE has also launched ‘IPS Grow’ in a bid to ramp up services in partnership with Social Finance who will work with service providers and employers, mental health experts and academics to support services across the country.

Image credit - noipornpan

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