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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

The FYFV for Mental Health: One year on and the year to come

Professor Tim Kendall, the National Clinical Director for Mental Health NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the Director for the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, reflects on progress towards the aims of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health in the NHS.

“One year ago the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health was published. A 5-year programme, it builds on the £1.4 billion investment in children and young people’s mental health, injecting another £1 billion for us to help 1 million more people throughout their lives. It aims to develop more and better alternatives to hospital, reduce the reliance on restrictive approaches, encourage prevention wherever possible and help people to access effective (NICE-recommended) treatment as early as possible.

“Getting the £1 billion into the ‘real world’ of mental health is a challenge. First we have to ensure the Mental Health Investment Standard is realised (this is the proportionate CCG investment in mental health). Then it’s about getting the new money to the front line. To encourage this, we are publishing how much each CCG spends and a dashboard of their progress in implementing new changes. More than this: NHSE and NHSI now require CCG finance returns to be countersigned by mental health providers, confirming they accurately reflect health economy investment in mental health. This has never been done before.

“We have invested in a number of priority areas, such as 20 specialist community perinatal mental health services, to increase access to care for thousands more women. We are also helping psychiatric liaison services to reach ‘core 24’ standard (consultant-led multidisciplinary teams, operating 24/7) – with good bids from over 80 acute hospitals we expect to reach the target of at least 50% at core 24 by 2020/21.

“Our next aim, building on the independent Commission the College set up to review acute adult psychiatric care, is to eliminate all inappropriate acute adult out-of-area placements over the next 2-3 years. We now have national data on out-of-area placements for the first time. On any given day there are over 400 such placements, a third involving people travelling over 100km. The cost is a staggering £5m per month, and this is likely to be an underestimate.

“Mental health has never been as important in the public sphere and in government as it is now. It is now down to all of us to campaign until all people with mental health problems get the treatment they need, when they need it, and wherever they are. Help us make this happen!”

Professor Tim Kendall

A view from the college

We were pleased to see the tangible implementation progress over the last 12 months.

In particular, we’ve been delighted to see the introduction of national standards for access to mental health care as well as a Mental Health Dashboard which provides for the first time an easy way to track performance against key mental health indicators.

There has also been encouraging progress against the implementation of the report published by the independent Commission the college set up to review acute adult psychiatric care. We expect more to be done, with a formal response to the report to be published soon.

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