Early intervention targets missed

Strategic health authorities have been ordered to draw up recovery plans after failing to meet government targets for early intervention mental health services.

They were expected to deliver early intervention services for 22,500 people with newly diagnosed cases of psychosis between 2003 and December 2006.

The Department of Health has not revealed how many services have so far been delivered but in a letter to strategic health authority chiefs it says it is clear the target will be missed.

SHAs are expected to submit a recovery plan to the DH by the end of March and must deliver services for at least 7,500 patients between then and March 2007.

Rethink’s director of campaigns and communications Paul Corry welcomed the move.

He said the delay was partly caused by initial confusion over whether SHAs were expected to have an early intervention team or deliver the service with existing staff.

A 2004 target requires SHAs to have teams in place by April this year.

Mental Health Nurses Association professional officer Brian Rogers said the target may have been missed through recruitment problems and because primary care trusts were not skilled at commissioning mental health services.


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