More than 13,000 extra mental health professionals recruited to lead reform of services

More than 13,000 extra mental health professionals have been recruited into the NHS over the last eight years to lead reform of services, a new government report emphasises.

3800 consultant psychiatrists, a rise since 1999 of more than 1300 (55%); 6800 clinical psychologists, a rise of over 2700 (69%); and 48,400 mental health nurses, a rise of over 9300 (24%)

This is according to statistics contained in a progress report written by Professor Louis Appleby, the government’s national director for mental health.

Entitled Mental Health Ten Years On: Progress on Mental Health Care the report lists reforms achieved since the Labour government came to power in 1997 and released a mental health national service framework in 1999.

Appleby says investment in specialist NHS mental health services has increased by over £1.5 billion.

The report also states there have been, since 1999, more than 700 new mental health teams in the community offering home treatment, early intervention or intensive support.

Appleby also cited a Healthcare Commission patient survey which found that 77% of community mental health patients rate their care as good, very good or excellent.

The suicide rate has also fallen to the lowest figure on record, states the report.

Also, between 2001 and 2005, £1.6 billion capital was spent by mental health trusts on improvements to in-patient wards, says Appleby.

The report was released as a controversial mental health bill, which will extend powers of compulsion over the mentally ill, goes through committee stages in the House of Commons.

Although fiercely criticised for its plans, the government has said it will not accept key amendments to the bill made by the House of Lords.

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