Hewitt Review calls for focus on reducing waiting times for acute mental health treatment

Press release
05 April 2023

An Independent Review, by former Labour Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, has said that the necessary focus on reducing elective care waits should be matched by an equal focus on reducing waiting times for acute mental health treatment.

The Hewitt Review was commissioned by the government to consider the oversight and governance of integrated care systems (ICSs).

Professor Subodh Dave, Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“Record numbers of people are being referred to mental health services that are over-stretched and under-resourced. The government must listen to Ms Hewitt’s recommendation that acute mental health treatment is given the same focus as elective care and urgently publish a fully-funded mental health recovery plan. 

“The Mental Health Investment Standard (MHIS) is a vital part of achieving parity between mental and physical health, and we are pleased Ms Hewitt has agreed with our recommendation that the standard should remain in place. We also support Ms Hewitt’s calls for a cross-government review of the entire NHS capital regime, which could open up access to capital that mental health providers desperately need. 

“Ms Hewitt is right to call for a greater focus on prevention. Early support for people with mental illness not only improves their outcomes but reduces demand on mental health services as a whole.

“It is also positive to see Ms Hewitt highlight the need to promote health and wellbeing and support people to be active partners in their own health. We know large scale public mental health interventions exist that can prevent mental illness from arising, saving the NHS money in the long-run.

“We welcome Ms Hewitt’s review and look forward to reading her recommendations in more detail over the coming days.”

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