Mental health network

Five Year Forward View for Mental Health celebrates its first birthday- what progress has been made?

policy digest

28 / 03 / 2017

Five Year Forward View for Mental Health – one year on
NHS England, March 2017

NHS England has published a report outlining the progress made in the first year of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. 

The report sets out which areas are beginning to see improved access to care and outlines examples of good local practice in services. It also recognises ongoing challenges, adding that there is more to do to "make a reality of the aspirations for transformation in mental health services".

The report concludes by outlining that the infrastructure needed to sustain change has been put in place and in many areas people who use services are beginning to feel the benefits of the new and expanded services on offer. It cautions that this is a long term programme which goes beyond 2020/21, stating that further work will be needed beyond the first five years to continue to expand transformation of mental health services and meet the needs of the whole population.

Finally, the report acknowledges the hard work of staff and finishes by stating that “one year on, there is clear momentum behind this programme nationally and locally: the challenge now is to maintain and build on this to achieve next year and beyond”.

Highlights from year one:

  • Over 120,000 more people are expected to receive mental health care and treatment in priority services in 2016/17.
  • The Mental Health Investment Standard is planned to be met across England as whole in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
  • The first national access standards for mental health treatment have come into effect – with the waiting time targets met.
  • A new Mental Health Dashboard has been launched to provide transparency of performance against key indicators.
  • The first comprehensive all-age mental health workforce strategy has been co-produced for publication in April 2017. 

The report also highlights that not all milestones have been met as planned, with progress on workforce development taking longer than anticipated due to the complexities of delivering a strategy for such a diverse group of professionals. 

On investment, the report indicates that the number of additional people treated is a strong indication of a greater focus afforded to mental health by local organisations. Financial reports demonstrate that across England as a whole, the additional funding expected to be provided in 2016/17 for services has been invested in full to support the programme. 

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s national and regional teams will work closely with STPs in 2017/18 to harness the changes needed in STP delivery. Work is currently underway to develop the mental health improvement and support offer across national and regional teams, to ensure successful delivery of mental health care and service elements of STPs and the 5YFV. 

Children and young people
21,000 more children and young people are expected to access treatment in NHS-commissioned community teams (compared to 2014/15).

Perinatal Mental Health
At least 750 more women should receive access to specialist perinatal mental health support and care through new services put into place this year. NHS England has also invested £1.2 million for workforce development to improve awareness and skills related to perinatal mental health.

Adult Mental Health
Over 72,500 more people with common mental health problems will access psychological therapies in 2016/17 compared with the previous year. Latest data show 87.8 per cent of people entering treatment waited less than six weeks, and 98.3 per cent waited less than 18 weeks – both exceeding national access standards. Almost half of people completing treatment (49.0 per cent) moved to recovery.

More than 10,000 people experiencing a first episode of psychosis have started treatment with a specialist team. In November 2016, more than 75 per cent of people starting treatment did so within two weeks in line with the new national standard. The use of police cells as places of safety continued to decline, accounting for only seven per cent of detentions and having more than halved since 2014/15.

Health and justice
NHS England published the first strategy for improving the mental and physical health of people in the criminal justice system. Liaison and diversion services have been expanded to cover police custody suites and courts in areas representing 68 per cent of the population of England. Over the first half of the year, 7,180 more people have received liaison and diversion services than in the previous six months.

Suicide Prevention
The National Suicide Prevention Strategy was refreshed by Government to support a renewed focus on key at risk groups and activity to deliver the national ambition of reducing suicides by 10 per cent by 2020/21. Local suicide prevention plans are in place or being developed in 95 per cent of local authorities in England.

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