Recruitment crisis for outreach teams

Crisis resolution and assertive outreach teams are finding it
difficult to recruit social workers, a report from the Sainsbury
Centre for Mental Health and the National Institute for Mental
Health in England has found.

The report, which looks at 10 teams across England, discovered that
some were having problems with recruitment because of the
“historically poor relationship between health and social

Unlike nurses, who are used to working shifts, social workers are
not attracted to jobs involving working out of hours and dealing
with difficult people, the report says. Social workers may also be
unwilling to work in multi-disciplinary teams where they are a

The report recommends outreach and crisis resolution teams develop
“innovative” salary packages and reduce the entry criteria for

The National Service Framework for Mental Health sets a national
target to develop mental health services that are available 24
hours a day, seven days a week. A total of 335 crisis resolution
teams have to be set up by the end of this year and 240 assertive
outreach teams had to be up and running by April last year.

Angela Greatley, Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health acting chief
executive, said: “Assertive outreach and crisis resolution teams
offer new ways of supporting people experiencing major mental
health problems. But this change can only be achieved if they are
implemented in full, over a realistic period of time, with the
resources necessary for the job.”

– Transforming Mental Health Care from 020 7827

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