Stressed health professional

£150m mental health funding package to ease pressure on the NHS

Those experiencing mental health difficulties are set to benefit from more convenient and specialised care, as the Governments looks to roll out £150m of funding over the next two years.

The investment will run until the April of 2025 and will go towards the acquisition of up to 100 new mental health ambulances, which will enable specialist staff to rapidly respond to emergencies and provide upfront care. The funding will also support 150 new projects that will further support the provision of mental health services and care.

The upcoming projects include schemes that will provide crisis cafes, crisis houses, and other safe spaces, in addition to several new or improved safe spaces for those who have been detained by police.

Health secretary, Steve Barclay, said: “With the health systems facing huge challenges this winter from the rise in flu, ongoing Covid cases and the impact of the pandemic, we need to ensure people are still receiving the right specialist care.

“These dedicated facilities will ensure patients experiencing a mental health crisis receive the care they need in an appropriate way, whilst freeing up staff availability including within A&E departments. These schemes – along with the up to 100 new mental health ambulances – will give patients across the country greater access to high-quality, tailored support when needed the most.”

Backed by £7m of the designated funding, the specialist ambulances have been specifically developed to give patients a more calming and relaxed environment – innovations include dimmable lighting, extra space for family and friends, and less garish, more accommodating interiors.

The residual £143m will be ringfenced for the 150 new projects, which will be centred around launching more, and improving already existing, mental health facilities across the country, as well as upgrades to crisis phonelines.

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, added: “People in mental health crisis deserve compassionate care in a safe and appropriate setting. Too often, they end up in A&E when they should be receiving specialist treatment elsewhere.

“This important funding will make sure they get the help they need, while easing pressures on emergency departments and freeing up staff time – which is a huge priority for the government this winter.”

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NHE May/June 2024

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