How we’ve influenced mental health policy

“I recognise the impact the College has made on mental health policy over the last three years” - Yes: 52% No: 48%

We were pleased to hear that more than half of respondents to last month’s newsletter are aware of the impact the College has had on mental health policy in recent years. In case you had managed to miss it here are some key area where the College has made a difference:

The NHS Long Term Plan

During 2018 the College worked particularly hard to influence the government’s NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) for England. We produced a comprehensive and detailed plan for what we believed should be within the plan (PDF) which included increasing the share of the NHS budget being spent on mental health services.

When the Plan was eventually published in January this year, we were pleased that it was highly focused on mental health and pledged to disproportionately uplift annual spending on mental health, compared to other services, with £2.3bn of additional investment per annum by 2023/24. The College’s briefing on the Long Term Plan (PDF) is available to read.

Campaigning for the mental health workforce of the future

The College has played a key role in influencing the content of Stepping Forward to 2020/21: Mental Health Workforce Plan for England, and, more recently, the NHS Interim People Plan. We were pleased that our views were heard during the consultation that took place to create it. We know that difficulties in recruiting enough psychiatrists, mental health nurses and other members of mental health teams has had a major impact on patient care. This plan recognises that more must be done so that the NHS has the staff it needs, including the proposal to allow more people to study at medical school. A more detailed summary of our calls and the contents of the Interim People Plan (PDF) is available.

Mental Health legislation

The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act (England and Wales) 1989 reported December 2018, with its recommendations based around the principles of choice and autonomy; least restriction; therapeutic benefit and the person as an individual. In 2017, the College ran a survey of members to find out what psychiatrists thought could be done to tackle the problems identified by the Government relating to the use of the MHA and to improve patient care under the Act. Based on this survey, and direct engagement with our faculties, committees and with Council, the College submitted a response to the Review’s call for evidence that set out the College’s values and priorities for reform. Following the publication of the Review’s interim report, the College worked through the Review leads to secure a clinical perspective to on every topic area and that the workforce and resource implications of all recommendations were considered. Further information on the College’s submission and the Review is available.

Better funding and data transparency

The College has long campaigned for improved data transparency around mental health services and funding. Following work to influence the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (2016) a recommendation to create a “dashboard” for mental health data was enacted. This has enabled monitoring of local data to uncover where local variations exist, to prompt action to address this. Most recently we have created Mental Health Watch – a tool to make monitoring how the mental health system in England is performing easier.


Find out more about the College’s Policy and Campaigning work.

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