The Government set parity of esteem in physical and mental health in law in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The Government further reinforced this commitment by welcoming the independent Mental Health Taskforce’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health report in February 2016. The report set out a strategy for change in four key areas to drive forward improvements in mental health: promoting good mental health and helping people lead the lives they want to live, integrating care, creating a seven-day National Health Service for mental health and hard wiring mental health across health and social care.
The Government accepted all the report’s recommendations in January 2017 and published a detailed action plan for taking forward the recommendations, including how we will monitor progress and report transparently. NHS England’s Implementation plan for the Five Year Forward View, published in July 2016, also set out a robust plan for delivering the commitments set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.
The Government has also set up the first waiting times standards for mental health, including for those experiencing a first episode of psychosis. Latest figures show that over 75% of people experiencing their first episode of psychosis commence treatment within two weeks, exceeding the 50% Early Intervention in Psychosis target set for 2016/17.
NHS England’s Mental Health Investment Standard also requires the local NHS to increase mental health investment by at least the same proportion as overall allocations. This is planned to be met across England as a whole in 2017/18 and 2018/19. For 2018/19 all clinical commissioning groups will be required to meet the Mental Health Investment Standard and this will be subject to confirmation by their auditors.