In response to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, the NHS has said funds for mental health services will rise to £1bn a year by 2020/21 in addition to the cumulative £1.4bn already committed for children, young people and perinatal care.
The report outlines that this funding will be made available to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) year on year.
Part of this funding, the report says, is reserved for equipping the workforce with the skills to deliver the proposed improvements to mental health services.
The report quotes a survey, which found that 42% of practice nurses said they had received no mental health training.
The new investment will ensure mental health training and support for staff working in primary care, the report says.
Furthermore, the report commits an investment of £72 million over two years to better integrate physical and mental health services.
This is said to involve expanding psychological therapies in up to a third of all CCGs through building ‘Integrated Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)’ services – co-located in and integrated with physical health services.
This portion of the funding will be delivered as a sum of £17.8 million in 2016/17 and up to £54 million in 2017/18, which will go directly to training new staff and delivering new “early implementer” integrated services.
Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s new national director for mental health, said: “This roadmap for implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health will improve access and outcomes, reduce inequality and deliver efficiencies across the local health and care economy.
“As well as setting out our expectations of the NHS, we have outlined how national partners will work together to provide the right enabling structures and frameworks, to support and help drive improvements in mental health over the coming years.
“Other organisations who have a role to play such as social care, employers, schools are also paramount to the success of this work. The need for action cannot be ignored. It is now up to all of us to make this a reality.”
Stephen Dalton, chief executive of NHS Confederation, added: “The NHS is facing significant financial challenges and reinforcing the importance of mental health services is welcome. This commitment signals that NHS England is still in the business of transformation.
“The additional funding is vital and it’s essential that we now receive further clarity about how we can be assured that promised investment reaches the front line.”