Health Education England (HEE) has published Stepping forward to 2020/2021: mental health workforce plan for England, which sets out the workforce approach required to deliver the aims set out in the Five year forward view for mental health and Future in mind.

Following the publication of the Five year forward view for mental health in 2016, the government has committed to investing £1 billion in:

  • improving access to services at an earlier stage
  • making services accessible at the right time
  • delivering services in a more integrated way
  • embedding mental health services into the NHS.

In order to achieve these aims, while also ensuring that existing services are maintained, the NHS will need to employ 19,000 additional members of staff by 2020, and the plan provides a workforce strategy to help local systems deliver the service-wide growth and transformation that is required.

Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of HEE, said: ‘Mental Health is a key priority for HEE. The Five year forward view for mental healthlaid out an ambition to see an additional one million people being treated by mental health services by 2021, including 70,000 more children and young people. This is something the whole system is committed to working on to make sure patients get the best possible care.

The workforce plan we have agreed with our partners across the system is based on the most comprehensive and robust study of the mental health workforce to date. We do not underestimate the scale of this challenge. To deliver the improvements we have said are required will require concerted action and focus from everyone working across the health and care system—this document lays out a plan to create that workforce. 

I am confident that the NHS can rise to this challenge and that this plan is a significant step to make the improvements to care we all know are needed a reality.