Mental health services can save money through a shift to more personalised provision but only if they invest in helping staff work better with patients.
That was the message from a report today by public sector training body the National School of Government, which examined how the “recovery approach” can be mainstreamed across mental health.
Recovery shifts the emphasis of care from diagnosis and treatment to helping service users rebuild their lives and enjoy a future beyond their illness, including by giving them more control over their care.
The report, Recovery Begins with Hope, said there was evidence that the this approach would save public money – such as by finding jobs for more people with mental health problems – but it had been held back because in too many services “staff have low aspirations and are not confident they can make a difference”.
Drawing on how recovery had been implemented at Devon Partnership NHS Trust and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, it said key factors included strong leadership, employing people with experience of mental health services and supporting staff to change their practice.
However, given the public spending climate, it warned that implementing recovery required investment up-front.
“The stumbling block to the implementation of the recovery approach in mainstream adult services is a lack of investment in the time it takes to develop staff capabilities that could transform staff-citizen relationships,” it said.
“Some investment in professional training would generate practitioner and public confidence. In an intermediate time period of two to five years, ‘recovery’ could generate dramatic savings.”
The report was supported by charity the Centre for Mental Health, which is working to support NHS trusts implement recovery.
What do you think? Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails