Pressure gauge
By: Alex Foden 26th February 2016

Mental Health & Social Care Staff Under Increasing Pressure

We recently saw some rather worrying, but not totally surprising statistics about mental health and social worker staffing levels, which have raised serious concerns about the future of these vital services.

Demand for mental health services has surged by as much as 40% in recent years, but psychiatric nurse supply has dropped by 10% over last 5 years. In addition, figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) reveal the adult social care workforce shrank by 25% over the same period.

Rising demand, increased costs and a shrinking workforce have caused some to speculate that social care is at breaking point and service quality will suffer, if it isn’t already.

Staff across the NHS and council social services are increasingly being asked to do more for less, for a rising number of patients, so we have to question the rationale behind these cuts.

CAMHS Championing Mental Health in Education

A conference was held in Norwich earlier this month to discuss mental health and wellbeing in schools, where Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Strategic Commissioner Jonathan Stanley was a guest speaker.

The conference addressed the prevalence of mental illness, the structures and support on offer in Norfolk, and positive strategies to support and improve the mental health community.

Did you attend the conference? What were your key takeaways? Please leave a comment below.

Is ‘Future in Mind’ Working?

There has also been some discussion around the Future in Mind policy and whether NHS and social care professionals think it’s working and delivering what it promised a year after launch.

The five big challenges set out in the policy were:

  • Promoting resilience, prevention and early intervention
  • Improving access to effective support – a system without tiers
  • Care for the most vulnerable
  • Accountability and transparency
  • Developing the workforce

Please leave a comment if you have first-hand experience of Future in Mind and have an opinion on whether it’s meeting those goals.

Can NHS England Deliver?

NHS England have pledged an additional £1bn a year to mental health services after 2020, which should allow them to help more than a million extra people. However, it remains to be seen whether this additional funding will make a meaningful difference to the demands of an ageing population.

In fact, there’s real concern whether a system that’s already being pushed to breaking point can survive in its current state until the much-needed funding boost arrives.

As ever, we’d love to get your thoughts on the above and any suggestions you might have for future blogs.