Proposed mental health standards welcomed by NHS leaders

Sean Duggan, chief executive of our Mental Health Network, responds to NHS England's proposed new standards for mental health services.

22 February 2022

Responding to NHS England's proposed new standards for mental health services, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation's Mental Health Network, said:

"Health leaders will welcome the introduction of these proposed new standards as mental health services have not had comparable performance metrics to physical healthcare for far too long, which has created barriers to understanding the extent of the challenges they face.

“While the targets in themselves won’t lead to improvements, they will increase transparency for patients and the wider public, allow NHS teams to measure their progress, and they can help shine a brighter light on the need for more targeted resources for services.

“For example, around 1.6m people are believed to be waiting for specialised support for their mental health in England, around 1 in 10 consultant psychiatrist posts are unfilled, and people are too often being sent far from home to access treatment.

“However, none of the NHS’s allocation in the Government’s comprehensive spending review was specifically identified for mental healthcare, and this will make performance against the standards very challenging for the mental health sector.

“The introduction of these proposed standards should be part of the recovery plan that is essential for supporting mental healthcare to respond to the rising demand they are seeing for their services.”