RCPsych responds to the NHS elective recovery plan

Statement / comment
08 February 2022

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“The NHS elective recovery plan to help people with physical health issues is welcome, as it recognises the increased demand faced by the health service and provides some clarity for patients, some of whom will also be living with a mental illness. 

“But the government cannot afford to neglect mental health recovery any longer. Record numbers of people are seeking help from mental health services that are over-stretched and under-resourced.

“We urgently need a fully-funded mental health recovery plan to ensure that everyone with a mental illness can get the help they need when they need it.”

Various datasets show the pressure mental health services are under:

Referrals to children and young people's mental health services are up 77.5% in April-October 2021 compared to April-October 2019 (Mental health services monthly statistics - NHS Digital)

Latest children and young people's eating disorders waiting times data showed worst performance on record for routine care and third worst for urgent cases.Over a third of children and young people are missing out on starting treatment within the target times (Statistics » Children and Young People with an Eating Disorder Waiting Times (england.nhs.uk)

More than 600 adults are still being treated inappropriately out of area at the end of each month (Out of Area Placements in Mental Health Services - NHS Digital).

NHSEI estimate that 1.5 million people are thought to be waiting for mental health treatment across England ( NHS England » 2021/22 priorities and operational planning guidance: October 2021 – March 2022