Alastair Whitington summarises highlights from the Westminster Health Forum on the next steps for mental health services in England
The Westminster Health Forum, Next steps for mental health services in England—prevention, specialised services and service user engagement, was held on Tuesday 23 July 2019 at The Royal Over-Seas League, London.
Sean Duggan, Chief Executive, Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation, outlined progress in implementing the NHS Long Term Plan for mental health services,1 building on the NHS Five Year Forward View.2 He explained that the mental health strategy was developed through ‘co‑production’—the collaboration of providers, commissioners, different professions, and NHS England—and will be supported by a ring-fenced investment of £2.3 billion (detailed in Claire Murdoch’s presentation) for mental health services for the next 5 years.
Delivery of improvements over the next 10 years will require the commitment of not only those involved in commissioning and providing mental health services, but also those outside of mental health services in fields such as criminal justice, employment, and social care. As with other areas of the health service, high vacancy rates of up to 20% in some specialist services need to be addressed.