The College responds to the budget statement and calls on the Government to publish the workforce plan and to afford mental health the same level of attention as is given to physical health.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his budget to the House of Commons yesterday (15 March). The budget included a recommendation from the Royal College of Psychiatrists that the Government expand the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) scheme in England. IPS supports people with severe mental illness into employment.
Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said:
“The combined costs from worklessness and sickness absence amount to approximately £100 billion annually to the wider economy. At the heart of this is poor mental health. Most people off work with a mental illness want to return, provided they are given the right support.
"In England, 17% of adults have a common mental disorder, and approximately 300,000 people living with long-term mental health problems lose their jobs each year.
“We are pleased the Chancellor accepted our recommendation to expand the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) programme in England. This evidence-based initiative, when appropriate, can help to get people with severe mental illness into employment which can also aid their recovery.
“The Chancellor’s commitment to invest additional funding into tailored mental health resources to support workers will also be vital for people who are struggling with their mental health remain in employment.
“The Government has committed to updating the Suicide Prevention Strategy, which we look forward to being published this year. The £10 million invested in suicide prevention over the next two years, could be crucial for services supporting those in critical need of help.
“Unfortunately, these interventions will have a limited impact if people cannot get the mental health support they need when they need it. Last year, mental health referrals reached record levels of 4.6 million and there are just simply not enough psychiatrists to deal with this surge in demand.
“The changes to pension arrangements will be welcomed by the medical community and will go some way to retain the much needed and experienced staff. However, this alone will not solve the workforce crisis; we need to see comprehensive measures to retain and recruit the mental health workforce in order to keep up with the ever-increasing number of referrals to mental health services.
“The Chancellor was right to reiterate his commitment to publishing a workforce plan forecasting the number of doctors, nurses and other professionals that will be needed in five, ten and 15-years’ time.
“If the Government is serious about improving productivity, it needs to publish the workforce plan - backed by adequate investment - as a matter of urgency. It must also afford mental health the same level of attention as is given to physical health.”
RCPsych Position Statements
Our Position Statements are concise statements of College policy and are approved by the College’s Policy and Public Affairs Committee.