Beat Responds to Mental Health Workforce Plan

Posted 11/08/2017

To achieve the aim of treating an extra one million patients by 2020, the NHS have today announced a plan to recruit thousands of mental health workers, with Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt telling UK media today that it was time to end the “historic imbalance” between mental and physical health services.

In response to this, Andrew Radford, Chief Executive of Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, said:

“Beat welcomes the commitment to increase investment into the specialist mental health workforce. Mental health care has been historically underfunded, and the results of this lack of investment are showing. Callers to our helplines regularly tell us about the long waits for treatment, the unreasonable distances they are expected to travel, the lack of specialist eating disorder care they can access, and inadequate understanding of these serious mental illnesses among healthcare professionals. When someone is able to access appropriate treatment quickly, their chance of a full and sustained recovery increases.

“A specialist mental health workforce can have a hugely positive impact on an individual’s recovery from an eating disorder and we are aware of some exceptional practice across the UK. The NHS have acknowledged the mountain they are preparing to climb is steep and we are pleased to see that the announcement includes measures to attract people to the profession and importantly keep them in post. We hope that this investment will start to tackle this problem, and though there is a long road before these new staff members are trained and delivering treatment, it is an important step in achieving parity of esteem between physical and mental healthcare.

“Our promise today is that we will continue to hold the Government to account. We will ask questions about what impact this investment will have on training specifically for eating disorders, apply pressure to ensure that the funding made available for mental health services is transparent and consistent across all postcodes, and continue to campaign for early intervention.

“We look forward to seeing the plans produced by the Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships to support today’s announcement and will work with them in any way we can on this initiative.”

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