National Health Service (NHS) in Britain has planned to recruit about 21,000 to boost the country’s mental health service, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, says on Monday.
The plan represents the biggest ever hiring programme for an NHS service, and comes after a pledge by Prime Minister Theresa May to improve health provision for people with mental health issues.
Often referred to as the “Cinderella’’ service within the NHS, campaigners have waged a long campaign over under-funding in mental health.
Hunt’s plan will see 21,000 new posts created at a cost of more than 1.7 billion U.S. dollars.
It will include more nurses trained in mental health care, therapists, psychiatrists, peer support workers and other mental health professionals.
There would also be a major drive to retrain and retain mental health staff, Hunt said.
He said that the extra staff would enable the NHS to operate a round-the-clock mental health service, seven days a week with the ability to offer treatment to an extra one million patients by 2021.
He said the drive would included NHS hiring 2,000 more nurses, consultants and therapist posts in child and adolescent mental health services.
“There will also be 2,900 additional therapists and health professionals supporting adult talking therapies.
“In addition 4,800 additional posts for nurses and therapists working in crisis care settings will be hired.’’
Hunt said: “we want people with mental health conditions to receive better treatment, and part of that means having the right NHS staff.
“We know we need to do much more to attract, retain and support the mental health workforce of the future. Today is the first step to address this historic imbalance in workforce planning.’’
The plan has been welcomed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), but doubt was expressed about whether the new staff could be recruited in time.
Ms Janet Davies, CEO of the RCN, said: “The government’s policies appear not to add up. It is clear the government will need to work hard just to get back to the number of specialist staff working in mental health services in 2010.’’