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Expert Panel finds Government progress to improve mental health services ‘requires improvement’

9 December 2021

The Health and Social Care Committee publishes a report by its Expert Panel to evaluate Government progress to deliver commitments on a wider range of mental health services in England.

Its overall rating against progress on nine commitments in four policy areas is ‘requires improvement’. The areas evaluated are: workforce; children and young people’s mental health; adult common mental illness; and adult severe mental Illness. The Panel gives further CQC-style ratings against nine individual commitments in the policy areas.

The Panel’s Report on the Evaluation of the Government’s progress against its policy commitments in the area of mental health services in England has examined a broader remit than the Committee’s inquiry, however its findings and ratings in relation to commitments made to improve services for children and young people have contributed to the Committee’s inquiry on this topic.

Please see table on page 11 of the Expert Panel Report for further details

Professor Dame Jane Dacre, Chair of the Expert Panel, said:

“Our Expert Panel has assessed to what extent commitments on improvements to mental health services for adults and children, and the expansion of the workforce have been met. Our overall verdict is that the Government’s progress requires improvement.

“On growing the workforce, every aspect of the Government’s commitment to do so requires improvement. Despite an overall increase in staff, in some important areas, such as psychiatry and mental health nursing, targets have not been met. This is a wake-up call because shortages represent the single biggest threat to national ambitions to improve mental healthcare, with an impact on delivery across all mental health services.

“On commitments to services for adults with severe mental health illness, there are a number of aspects where we have rated progress as inadequate.

“Throughout our work a prominent theme of inequality emerged on outcomes, provision and access to mental health services with striking differences between regions and ethnic groups. This failure to ensure equality reflects a lack of overall progress within the commitments we have evaluated.”

Further information

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