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Mental health recruitment drive

A Shropshire law firm has welcomed the news of a major recruitment drive in an effort to treat an extra million mental health patients by 2020.

It comes after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt acknowledged a need for change because of the growing imbalance between mental and physical health services.

Mr Hunt said the recruitment drive was going ahead to ensure enough nurses, therapists and consultants will be available to treat the additional patients within the three-year time frame.

Lawyers at Shropshire firm Lanyon Bowdler said although it was good news for those affected by mental health issues, the move would not do a lot for those who needed help now.

Kay Kelly, head of clinical negligence at the firm, said Lanyon Bowdler monitored developments in health closely in the interests of personal injury and clinical negligence clients.

“Although in principle this increase in recruitment and resources can only be seen as positive, it does nothing to tackle the people that are suffering right now,” she said.

“It is still going to take at least three years for this to be implemented and the amount of unfilled nursing posts has recently been published, which is frankly quite startling.

“The plan is to recruit 9,700 extra staff - but where are they all coming from? It is still unclear how within the three-year time frame this many people will be qualified or be at the level to provide consultant care.

“With the NHS making many cuts across the board, it feels like mental health has been an area that has previously been pushed aside.

“It is now in the spotlight and hopefully this plan will be fulfilled and help thousands of people that need the support across the UK.

“It is believed one-in-four people suffer from mental illness in the UK and a recent investigation found that 27 of 39 mental health trusts across the country contacted said the workload of their crisis team had increased by 70 per cent.

“This is a mind-boggling figure and one that, clearly, present staff numbers are unable to deal with.

“Last year NHS England reported the majority of crisis teams were not sufficiently resourced to operate 24/7, and had caseloads above levels that allow teams to fulfill core functions.

“While we applaud the news for more staff in an area of the NHS which has been neglected for far too long, we will await with interest just how this plan will be put into effect and if it achieves its desired goals.”



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