More mental health staff needed

The draft mental health bill could lead to a workforce crisis, a
report by the NHS Confederation warns.

It says that an extra 1,000 social workers, psychiatrists and
administrative staff would be needed to manage caseloads and
existing staff could face a doubling of their workloads.

The increase is largely due to the proposal for all cases to go
through a mental health tribunal when requiring compulsory
treatment beyond 28 days.

The report concludes: “Mental health services are already
hard-pressed and affected by staff shortages in key areas. We are
not yet convinced that the benefits of new legislation, as
currently drafted, are commensurate with the extra process

Paul Farmer, chairperson of the Mental Health Alliance, said the
draft bill threatened to “overwhelm” health and social
care staff and might result in neglect of people who did not need
compulsory treatment.

Meanwhile, the British Association of Social Workers said the
NHS needed to recruit 5,000 mental health workers to act as
approved mental health professionals, a role that would replace
approved social workers under the proposals.

Report from

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