Mental Health Nurse Academics UK joins others in welcoming the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan for England, noting the attention paid within it to mental health and wellbeing.
The Plan commits specifically to improving the mental health of children and young people, and to improving the mental health of adults with both commonly experienced mental health problems and serious mental illnesses. It also commits to tackling shortages in NHS England’s workforce, and looks ahead to the publication of a comprehensive NHS workforce implementation plan by the end of 2019.
Mental health nurses are the largest of the professional groups working in the mental health field, and their contribution will be critical to achieving the Long Term Plan’s aspirations. In Health Education England’s ‘Facing the facts, shaping the future’ 2018 draft workforce strategy mental health nursing vacancies for March 2017 were reported as running at more than 14%. MHNAUK urges joined-up investment and action to increase, and safeguard, the future recruitment and retention of mental health nurses. Our members remain concerned at the disproportionate impact of the loss of bursary support on recruitment into pre-registration mental health nursing programmes, and whilst welcoming new roles in the workforce do not see nursing associates as a replacement for registered nurses. MHNAUK therefore looks forward to working with others to make parity of esteem a reality, and to nurses fulfilling roles which help make mental health services as good as they need to be.