Houses of Parliament

Allow mental health nurses more time with patients, government report urges

Mental health nurses should spend more of their time in direct clinical contact with patients and cut back on administrative duties, a government review has urged.

The review, entitled “From Values to Action”, lays out the role of mental health nurses over the next 10 years. It has taken into account government race equality reforms and planned changes to mental health law as outlined in a new mental health bill.

The review, launched last week, also recommends that the role of the health service’s 47,000 mental health nurses should be to provide more psychological therapies, help improve the physical wellbeing of patients and promote social inclusion for patients and their carers.

Mental health minister Rosie Winterton said the time was right “to provide mental health nurses with a new direction and clear future role in order to deliver government reforms such as the mental health bill, personalised choice and care”.

The government’s chief nursing officer Christine Beasley said: “This report aims to help mental health nurses, their organisations and professional leaders put in place the practical changes that will make a difference to service users. I want this review to be used on the ground to shape everyday practice wherever care is given to mental health service users and their families.”

Sophie Corlett, director of policy at the mental health charity Mind, said she was “delighted” at the review’s encouragement of a more active role for nurses in engaging with patients.

“Too often we hear of a lack of interaction between the two, particularly on wards where patients may feel alone and abandoned,” she said.

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