Mental Health Services: Waiting Lists

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 23rd October 2019.

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Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for mental health (a) referrals and (b) treatment.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone who has a mental health need is able to access timely treatment based on their clinical need.

We have made ambitious commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan to make mental health services available to an extra 380,000 adults and 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 by 2023/24.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits the National Health Service to test and roll out comprehensive waiting time standards for adults and children over the next decade. This builds on the already established waiting time standards for children and young people’s eating disorder services, early intervention for psychosis that covers all ages and adult improving access to psychological therapies services which are all being met or on track for delivery by 2020/21 in line with previous commitments.

Specific waiting times targets for emergency mental health services will take effect from 2020.

The ongoing NHS clinical review of standards has reported its interim findings which set out a number of proposed future waiting time standards for testing in mental health. These include:

- assessment within 24 hours for urgent community referrals;

- seen by liaison psychiatry in accident and emergency within 1 hour from referral;

- four week waiting times for children and young people to access specialist mental health services; and

- four week waiting times for adults to community mental health teams.

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