Commenting on NHS England's proposals for new mental health access standards, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:
“The pandemic has already taken a major toll on the mental health of the public, and our members tell us they are seeing significant rises in crisis and children’s and young people’s referrals. With predictions from the Centre for Mental Health that as many as 10 million people could need new or extra support for their mental health, it’s clear we need concrete action to make sure mental health services are able to meet demand, and no one is left in the cold.
“The proposed standards will help reduce the time that people have to wait to access support, and in turn, help to prevent more serious problems later. Crucially, they are another step towards putting mental and physical health on equal footing, and will improve the care people experiencing mental health crisis receive when attending A&E.
“The challenge will be making sure there are enough staff, with the right training, to deliver these proposals. The government must support them fully as these proposals move forward, through investment in workforce and facilities. We look forward to engaging with our members on these proposals and with the consultation.”