Supporting people with long-term physical and mental health conditions, and treating mental and physical health with equal priority, is one of the Government’s priorities where it is expecting to see particular progress.
Treating mental and physical health conditions in a coordinated way, and with equal priority, is essential to supporting recovery. Yet people with mental health problems have worse outcomes for their physical healthcare, and those with physical conditions often have mental health needs that go unrecognised.
- Mental health should be treated as much as a priority as physical health, and the health gap closed between people with mental health problems and the population as a whole.
- Everyone who needs it should have timely access to the best available treatment. This will involve extending and ensuring more open access to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, in particular for children and young people, and for those out of work.
- The NHS Commissioning Board has agreed to play its full part in delivering the commitments that at least 15% of adults with relevant disorders will have timely access to services, with a recovery rate of 50%.
- We also want to see improvements in the transition between mental and physical health services.
Too often, access to services for people with mental health problems is more restricted and waiting times are longer than for other services, with no robust system of measurement in place even to quantify the scale of the problem.
- We expect the Board to be able to comprehensively identify levels of access to, and waiting times for, mental health services.
- We want the Board to work with clinical commissioning groups to address unacceptable delays and significantly improve access and waiting times for all mental health services, including IAPT.
- We will also work with the NHS Commissioning Board to consider new access entitlements for mental health services, including the financial implications of any such entitlements.
It is important for the NHS to take action to identify those groups known to be at higher risk of suicide than the general population and one of those groups is people in the care of mental health services.
- The Board will need to work with clinical commissioning groups to ensure that providers of mental health services take all reasonable steps to reduce the number of suicides and incidents of serious self-harm or harm to others, including effective crisis response.