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The Art of the Possible: a new workforce plan for mental health

18 September 2017

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt spoke at this year's Expo 2017 event in Manchester. Slides from the presentation are available to download below.

Reflecting on our NHS Expo 17 session (Mental Health Workforce: Delivering the Five Year Forward View) it is clear to me that momentum is building to radically transform the care and treatment of all those that need and access mental health services.

Key areas that we discussed and debated include:

  • The investment - £1billion for an extra one million patient/user contacts 
  • The creation of modern, sustainable health and care systems that lead us to integrated working across all sectors (health, social care, education and voluntary)
  • Place-based workforce planning -  by December 2017 each of the 44 Sustainable Transformation Partnerships (STP) will have a diagnosis of local requirements and have plans in place to develop their workforce accordingly (see the ‘waterfall’ diagram)
  • Innovative roles such as nursing associates and peer support workers.

Listening, learning, debating

As well as these tangible exciting developments, I also struck by the fact that we are candidly listening, learning, debating and innovating in this space, which for too long has been fraught with challenges – from stigma and inequalities, to a lack of investment. However, thanks to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, this is clearly set to change.

The innovations that we heard about at the session were just brilliant!

  • developing person-centred nursing associates 
  • creating a speedy response ‘resilience hub’ in Manchester where multi-disciplinary team working was in place from the 'get go' 
  • integrating team working and joint management across Bradford with no fewer than 77 social care staff in Assertive Outreach Teams, Early Intervention, Psychosis, Acute, Crisis and IHT, Safe Spaces and a Police Hub.

The Mental Health Workforce Plan

The ‘golden thread’ that ran throughout these exciting innovations was a real desire to build supportive, flexible workforce teams who 'wrap around' our more traditional mental health clinicians.

This is an approach that widens employment and development opportunities for all those that are interested in pursuing a career in mental health; but equally important, it also liberates other clinicians to concentrate on caring for people with more complex conditions. 

At HEE we recognised this when we collaboratively developed the FYFV Mental Health Workforce Plan. Alongside this, we created a dynamic workforce roadmap to enable STPs to diagnose and develop local place-based workforce plans to meet the ambitions set out in the FYFV.

Exciting and daunting

Whichever way you look at this agenda it's exciting and daunting, from reaching out to an extra million people to creating motivated, multi-professional teams; from establishing 21,000 posts and employing 19,000 additional members to moving and developing 8,000 caring and committed people into new and exciting roles.

But I truly believe we are all up for the challenge.

As the NHS approaches its 70th anniversary next year, isn’t it a great time to grasp this unique opportunity to achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health and healthcare?

And to make this step-change, both for the people who need and access mental health services and the army of kind, competent and committed health and care workers who are passionate about delivering sustainable high-quality services, now and in the future?

Posted by Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality, HEE

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