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Improve the co-ordination of mental health services with other local services

And we will improve the co-ordination of mental health services with other local services, including police forces and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

Our Verdict

Mental health problems represent a large-scale and growing challenge, accounting for 23% of NHS activity and affecting roughly one in four people each year. This policy promises to improve co-ordination between mental health services and other local services to ensure people “get the care and support they deserve”.

Following the publication of its Drug Strategy in July 2017, the government issued new guidance on “care for people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions”, which “encourages commissioners and service providers to work together to improve access to services”.

The Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health, published in August 2017, aims to “provide a focus for cross-sector action to deliver a tangible increase in the adoption of public mental health approaches”. It has been signed by many local councils and various public and private organisations and professional bodies.

In February 2018, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued a new quality standard covering the mental health of adults in contact with the criminal justice system, which describes high-quality care and looks at priority areas for improvement.

And the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, with its emphasis on Integrated Care Systems, has a strong focus on improved co-ordination of services.

There have been many developments under this government aimed at improving co-ordination, as pledged in the manifesto. With so many moving parts, reaching a final judgement on the status of a policy like this is challenging. We’ll be consulting with independent experts in the field of mental health to see if there is a consensus on whether things have improved, but based on the evidence above we’re rating this as ‘in progress’. Follow this policy to see how things develop.

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