To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to promote the provision of mental health services to elderly people living in rural areas.
It is the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to commission services based on the needs of their populations. More broadly, sustainability and transformation partnerships are implementing plans to integrate services across their local area, and to promote collaborative working across health services, local authorities and other partners to address the health needs of their particular local population.
NHS England’s work to increase older people’s access to psychological therapies through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Programme is intended to support older people across the country, including in rural areas. NHS England has introduced financial incentives through the Mental Health Quality Premium in 2017/18 and 2018/19 to reward CCGs for improvements in access to, and outcomes from, IAPT services for under-represented groups, in particular older people.
We are also continuing work to improve the identification and treatment of older people’s mental health issues in primary care. NHS England and NHS Improvement have published ‘A Practice Primer on Mental Health in Older People’ for colleagues in primary care, in particular general practitioners (GPs), which highlights symptoms often attributed to ‘old age’ but where a mental health diagnosis and follow-up is more appropriate. The publication is supported by the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Geriatrics Society and Age UK.
The primer can be viewed via the following link: