I am delighted at the news of plans announced by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, to recruit 21,000 new mental health staff in the NHS by 2021.
The plan will see an extra £1.3 billion in funding for the NHS which will be used to employ extra nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, peer support workers and other mental health professionals. This will help redress the historic imbalance between mental and physical health in the NHS and deliver on Theresa May’s promise to tackle “the burning injustice of mental illness”. The plan will be accompanied by a major drive to retrain and retain mental health staff.
Of those newly recruited, around 2,000 will be dedicated to child and adolescent mental health. The plan aims to treat an extra 1 million people by 2021, provide mental health services seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and properly integrate mental and physical health services.
I have been an advocate for better access to local mental health services, having raised the issue in Parliament with Health Ministers earlier this year, asking what support the Government is providing for groups such as Stockport Healthy Minds. I also support replacing the flawed 1983 Mental Health Act to confront the discrimination and unnecessary detention that takes place too often.
People in our area have suffered in the past from a lack of access to quality mental health services, so I am very pleased that extra funding is being put into the NHS to address this. It is time we achieved parity between mental and physical health services and this investment to provide extra mental health funding and staff will help deliver that.