NHS England releases new interim report on access times for treatment
Yesterday NHS England announced proposals for the first ever targets for seeing people in a mental health crisis.
This means that from April 2020, people attending A&E in a mental health crisis should receive a response from the liaison mental health service within one hour.
People who access crisis support in community crisis services such as crisis cafes or safe havens can expect a response within 24 hours.
We’re really pleased to see urgent and emergency access standards for mental health for the first time. It’s vital that people receive timely and appropriate care when they’re experiencing a crisis.
The interim report of NHS Access Standards also set out plans for 100% of acute hospitals to provide a ‘Core24’ liaison mental health services in by 2027/28. This means that every acute hospital will be required to have an on-site liaison service where psychiatrists provide specialist mental health assessments for people in crisis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Mental Health called for 100% of acute hospitals to provide access to a Core24 liaison psychiatry service by 2028/29 in their recent report, ‘On the road to parity’ and we welcome the NHS’ determination to achieve this even sooner.
We welcomed the NHS Long-Term Plan’s commitment to bring care back into the community for people severely affected by mental illness and were pleased to see this report provide more detail on the four-week waiting time standard to access adult and older adult community mental health teams.
We raised issues with long waiting times for mental health treatment in our report, Right Treatment Right Time in 2018. We now know that the clock will start at referral and that within the following four weeks someone should receive an assessment and either begin treatment or receive a treatment plan in NHS-funded services and/or in appropriate services which may be outside a specialist community service.
These new proposed targets show that care for people severely affected by mental illness is improving and we will continue to work with policy makers until everyone receives the right care at the right time.