Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, has expressed support for giving mental health services a higher priority, with targets for waiting times and better protection for funding.
Mental illness is estimated to cost between £70bn and £100bn per year in lost productivity, benefit payments and absence from work. It is thought that employers could play a bigger role in helping to keep such people in employment and maintaining regular contact during their sickness leave.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO)’s annual report has made 14 recommendations to improve public mental health services.
Triggle, N. (2014). Chief medical officer: Make mental health bigger priority. London: BBC Health News, September 9th 2014.
This relates to:
Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013. Public mental health priorities: investing in the evidence. London: Department of Health, September 9th 2014.
“I have chosen not to specifically focus on dementia in this report because it is such a large and important topic that it would have been impossible to do it justice within this volume. I have included consideration of both dementia and physical comorbidities in a Life Course chapter which focuses on the mental health of older adults”. (p.12)
Mental Health Waiting Times Targets
More on the mental health waiting times target question. The “We Need to Talk” coalition of mental health charities has recommended a waiting time target to be introduced for psychological therapies to be set at 28 days from referral to treatment. Investigation of data collected by the Health and Social Care Information Centre indicates that mental health services are unable to cope with demand for psychological therapies. Variations in referral rates and waiting times are unacceptable and result in poor outcomes.
Triggle, N. (2014). Is it time for a mental health waiting target? London: BBC Health News, September 17th 2014.
This relates to:
An urgent need: We Need to Talk’s manifesto for better talking therapies for all. London: We Need to Talk, September 12th 2014.
Watershed Moment on Mental Health Waiting Times?
Nick Clegg announced the first waiting targets for mental health treatments in England before the 2014 Lib Dem Conference.
Wheeler, B. (2014). Nick Clegg unveils first mental health waiting targets. London: BBC Health / Politics News, October 8th 2014.
A related BBC News analysis:
Triggle, N. (2014). Mental health: a start of a long journey? London: BBC Health News, October 8th 2014.