Responding to the NHS Long Term Plan, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:
“The Long Term Plan represents vital progress towards parity of esteem for mental health services and has come through genuine and meaningful engagement with the sector.
“The £2.3bn ringfenced local investment fund for mental health will help alleviate the severe pressures on the system as well asimprove and increase access to mental health services.
“We welcome the commitment to focus on increased spending for children and adolescent services which will help treat 345,000 more children and young people by 2023/24.
“Implementing clear access standards for community and emergency mental health care is a step towards putting mental and physical health on an equal footing. Meeting these standards will improve the care people receive while at their most vulnerable.
“But there are challenges to achieving this bright vision. The mental health sector has been stung particularly hard by the workforce shortages, with 20,000 vacancies. It is vital we have the right staff in the right places to provide care, and they need the right facilities to do so. We look forward to the publication of the NHS workforce implementation plan and the capital settlement as part of the comprehensive spending review.”