Review of mental health nursing announced

Mental health nurses will be asked to improve the physical wellbeing of their patients, according to a major review of mental health nursing published today by health minister Rosie Winterton.

The review recommends that MHNs should focus on the wider needs of the patient and use their skills to better assess patients’ needs, promote healthy activities and provide more psychological therapies.

MHNs should spend less time on administrative work and have more time in direct clinical contact with service users to improve inpatient care.

They should also promote social inclusion for service users and their carers, the report recommends.

Rosie Winterron said the time was right “to provide mental health nurses with a new direction and clear future role in order to deliver government reforms such as the Mental Health Bill, personalised choice and care”.

The review, which is the result of a consultation exercise last year, also recommends that the recruitment and retention of MHNs needs to be improved through initiatives such as linking with schools and colleges and presenting positive messages about mental health to the media.

Career structures for MHNs should also be reviewed according to local needs and a range of new nursing roles developed and supported.

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