To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the document, Stepping forward to 2020/21: The mental health workforce plan for England, published by the NHS in July 2017, how many of the additional 19,000 mental health staff to be recruited by 2020 were employed by July 2018.
Stepping forward to 2020/21: The mental health workforce plan for England, published in July 2017, sets out our ambition to deliver 21,000 new posts (professional and allied) across the mental health system, with the expectation that 19,000 of these places will be filled by staff employed directly by the National Health Service.
NHS Digital publish statistics on NHS mental health workforce. Latest data available, as at March 2018, shows that there are 183,476 full time equivalent staff working in mental health in NHS using the widest possible view of the Mental Health and Learning Disability workforce. This is an increase of 915 (0.5%) compared to March 2017 (the baseline year for Stepping Forward). A one-year comparison is given to remove the impact of seasonality, caused by training and recruitment cycles.
Health Education England and NHS England are currently developing a mental health workforce dashboard which will publicly track progress against the targets and commitments set out in Stepping Forward.
In addition to expanding the mental health workforce, the Government also recognises that retaining our skilled staff is crucial. That’s why NHS Improvement and NHS England have been rolling out a special retention programme supporting those trusts with high levels of staff attrition. Directors of Nursing and mental health experts are working directly with trusts to develop ‘Rapid Improvement Plans’ on retention. These plans are required to set out plans for improvements over the next 12 months. Additionally, there are a series of retention master classes which are being rolled out, aimed at Directors of Nursing and HR Directors.