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Health Series: Expert Comment

Political leadership has failed mental health, says City expert

Professor Alan Simpson comments on the government’s announcement of £1.3 billion of funding for mental health


Professor Alan Simpson, Professor of Collaborative Mental Health Nursing in the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London, said:

The report out today by Health Education England shows the major challenges facing the mental health services now. Over the last 8 years the workforce has been decimated. Mental health nurses posts – the bedrock of care and treatment – has fallen more than any area of nursing since 2009 and more than the rest of the psychiatric workforce. There is a lack of psychiatrists with few medics choosing psychiatry. The attrition rate for mental health staff is almost 14% - much higher than in other parts of the health service. The removal of nursing bursaries, the pay cap and Brexit add to the problems.

“There are some fantastic mental health staff and services out there but this has been due to heroic efforts by managers, clinicians and other staff against a relentless undermining of services through austerity and the failure to ensure allocated budgets reach mental health. You can only stretch the cloth so far before if tears. Political leadership has failed mental health and it’s time for a change.

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