RCPsych respond to major plan to recover urgent and emergency care services

Press release
30 January 2023

The College responds to the new delivery plan announced for recovering urgent and emergency care services.

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

“The publication of today’s plan is an important moment for recovering our urgent and emergency care (UEC) services. We know the pressures mental health services are under, and we are encouraged by the plan’s commitments to improve mental health support.

“It is positive to see proposals to expand the mental health workforce within UEC and mental health services. We specifically welcome the increase in mental health expertise for ambulance services, including ensuring that mental health professionals are embedded in all Emergency Operation Centres. This will help those in mental health crisis receive more targeted support.

“NHS England is also right to continue to upskill staff to improve care for people with co-occurring mental health needs, people with a learning disability and autistic people. This includes ensuring the uptake of existing offers such as the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism.

“Response time standards are vital to ensure timely access to the most appropriate, high-quality support for patients. We are pleased the Government has made a new commitment for the NHS to work towards implementing new response time standards for people requiring urgent and emergency mental health support in both A&E and in the community. Plans to better use real time data will ensure that local areas are providing the right care for their populations.

“The 24/7 nature of mental illness makes it all the more important that services are made available around the clock. This will allow patients to reach out for help when they need it, and in the way that suits them best. This is why we support the plans to sustain and enhance 24/7 mental health helplines and the future provision of 24/7 crisis text lines.

“The urgent and emergency care recovery plan provides critical tools to help Integrated Care Boards. The Government must make sure there are the resources in place to properly implement the plan, to ensure people with a mental illness have a better experience of care and support.”

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