Royal College of Psychiatrists responds to King’s Fund report on Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs)

Statement / comment
03 February 2017
Dr Adrian James, Registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “We strongly agree with today’s report that proposals to reduce capacity in acute and community hospitals will only work if there are clear plans in place to provide alternatives for patients in the community first. Collaboration between the NHS and local government to use existing health and social care services in the community more effectively and to fill gaps in provision is essential. Mental health services have successfully transformed in this way and STPs should learn the lessons from this experience.”

Dr Sridevi Kalidindi, chair of the rehabilitation faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “The mental health sector has led the way in transforming care from hospital bases, into the community and closer to home. Some 90% of secondary mental health care, now takes place in community settings. Psychiatry is at the forefront of this work.

“STPs and new models of care would benefit enormously from harnessing this expertise. It is key that alternatives in the community are created first, before moving away from hospital-based care, where it is preferable.”

Dr. Lenny Cornwall, chair of the General Adult Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “The report highlights the care that needs to be taken in transforming health services. The quality of mental health services has changed for the better with the move from hospital-based to community-based services but that was a gradual transition over 30 or more years and done at a time of increasing funding.

“What we have learnt is that demand for hospital-based care will only reduce when specialist community services are fully developed and where a high priority is placed on the staff who provide continuity of care in the community.

“We are concerned that the focus on rapid transformation of acute hospital care will undermine efforts to achieve parity of funding for mental health services and only lead to further cuts in mental health budgets.”

Read the full report here

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