Association of Mental Health Providers

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Queen’s Speech: Another Missed Opportunity for Social Care Reform and Mental Health

It is increasingly clear that in many of the conversations about adult social care, there remains a glaring omission; – its importance to mental health and wellbeing. Adult Social Care plays a critical role in meeting the needs of people with mental illness, in keeping them safe, preventing future mental health issues, and in the promotion and maintenance of the mental health and wellbeing of local populations. Local authorities, through their duties for adult social care under the Care Act 2014 are currently the major commissioners of The Association’s members, the voluntary and community mental sector, who provide an essential range of services -from prevention and crisis intervention to community support – for people who experience poor mental health or severe mental illness.

It is estimated that £1.1 billion per annum is required over existing social care spending, to restore mental health related adult social care budgets to 2010/11 levels by 2030 and maintain effective provision and enable the VCSE mental health sector to play the role envisaged of it in NHS England’s plans for the transformation and modernisation of community mental health services. The Government’s ambitions for reform the Mental Health Act, as prefaced in the White Paper of January this year, will also require additional investment in adult social care. Addressing this deficit and working with providers to ensure greater equity in the accessibility and provision of services must, therefore, be a priority in any package of reform for adult social care and attendant investment in it.

Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive, Association of Mental Health Providers, commented:

“The commitment to bring forward a long-term plan for the reform of adult social care without explicitly including the plans for delivery in the Queen’s Speech today is disappointing to say the least. This was another missed opportunity to address many of the issues faced by the social care sector, including supporting working-age adults – as well as older people – and set out a meaningful commitment to investing in and sustaining its highly committed and skilled, but lowly paid, workforce. Nonetheless, whilst we are extremely disappointed that there is no signal of an immediate injection of resources required to both stabilise and help maintain the adult social care sector, we will be ensuring that we continue to collaborate with all key stakeholders  and ensure a greater understanding of the vital contribution of the VCSE sector and that the people who need to draw on services have the support they require as laid out in the Care Act.”