Designing better mental healthcare facilities

NHS Confederation cites workforce shortages as ‘biggest challenges’ to building a future mental health workforce

Commenting on our joint briefing with the Centre for Mental Health and Mind, titled ‘Building a mental health workforce for the future’, Sean Duggan, CEO of the mental health network at the NHS Confederation said: “Mental health services have faced unprecedented demand over the last few years, with the impact of the pandemic and cost of living crisis increasing the amount of people coming forward needing support."

He continued: “Services have been running at capacity for some time, with leaders and their teams pulling out all the stops to meet these pressures. But, as this joint briefing with the Centre for Mental Health showed, the biggest challenge to meeting this growing demand is workforce shortages. A good start to address this is ensuring that we see health and care workforce as equals, whether they work in the acute, community, local authorities, or the independent sector.

 “While getting new staff to expand service capacity is important, simultaneously the health service must do everything it can to retain the staff it already has. This means we need to get better at supporting them – whether this is through developing their skills and careers, or giving them the flexibility to work around their personal lives.”

Sean Duggan  said diverse workforce and leadership were the key to ensuring organisations can engage with, and understand, the specific needs of different communities, and can help reduce inequalities within the mental health system, which can help improve care for patients and was a key recommendation from the review of the Mental Health Act.

He added: “There is groundwork already being done, as our members are embracing innovative approaches to workforce challenges such as peer support and housing workers. However, we cannot make any headway without the commitment from the government that the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan will be fully funded and delivered.”


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