On Thursday 22nd July, NHS England/Improvement announced proposals to introduce new waiting time guarantees or standards. This is intended to be “a major step towards improving patient access to mental health services” and is based on the final recommendations on the mental health standards from the Clinically-led Review of NHS Standards (read the report here).In summary, the proposals suggest:
For community-based mental health crisis services
- For a ‘very urgent’ presentation, a patient should be seen within four hours from referral
- For an ‘urgent’ presentation, a patient should be seen within 24 hours
For mental health needs in an emergency department
- Patients referred from an emergency department should have a face to face assessment within one hours from referral
For non-urgent, community mental health care
- People presenting to community-based mental health services should start to receive help within four weeks from referral. For children and young people this “help” may be immediate advice/brief intervention, help to access a more appropriate service, the start of longer-term intervention or agreement of a patient care plan, or the start of a specialist assessment. For adults and older adults this may involve the start of a therapeutic or social intervention, or agreement of a patient care plan.
A consultation on these proposals have been launched via an online survey. Responses must be submitted by the 1st September 2021 or by email to [email protected]. The consultation consists of four questions, asking 1) whether you agree or disagree with the proposed measures and 2) why, 3) what the key barriers to implementing these measures are, and 4) what you think the best way to communicate the proposed measures to service users and families/carers is.
Please do respond to the consultation with your comments on the proposals. NSUN will be submitting a response as an organisation and if you would like to feed into this response as well as or instead of responding to the consultation, you can submit comments anonymously here. Please tell us whether you are happy to be quoted anonymously in our response.