Almost £1bn is being invested in mental health services in England over the next five years as part of a new strategy, prime minister David Cameron announced on 11 January 2016.
The government intends to spend £290m over five years on a pre- and post-natal service for pregnant women and young mothers who have serious mental health problems. It is expected to benefit 30,000 women.
Another £250m has been set aside for establishing mental health liaison services in hospital emergency departments. The government predicts the service will be running in half the NHS trusts in England by 2020.
Another £400m will be spent on around-the-clock community mental health services aimed at supporting people in their own homes and preventing admission to hospital.
New NHS waiting times are also being introduced for young people with eating disorders from 2017/2018 who can expect a referral within a week if their case is urgent or within a month if non urgent.
From April 2017 at least half of all under-18 year olds experiencing their first pyschotic episode can be expected to be treated within two weeks; this target rises to at least 60% by 2020.
The announcements reflect proposals from NHS England’s independent mental health taskforce, which is due to publish its five-year strategy for services in the coming weeks.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, says the measures are a “critical first step”.
“When our independent taskforce publishes its final report in a few weeks, the whole NHS will need to mobilise to translate their wider proposals into action,” he says.