The East London NHS Foundation Trust has announced that they will receive a cash injection for mental health services in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and City of London.
The boost has come from the North East London STP, who were one of 12 NHS sites across England to receive extra funding for mental health care, as part of a £70 million long term health plan to transform how mental health care is delivered in the UK.
The project aims to close the gap between primary, local care and secondary, institutional or specialised care through patients being able to access help closer to home. GPs and specialist mental health teams will be able to work more closely with each other to help patients with different degrees of need.
ELFT Chief Executive Dr Navina Evans said: “I am extremely proud of my colleagues at ELFT and at the East London Health & Care Partnership in working collaboratively to secure this important funding from NHS England.
“For the first time ever, primary care networks will be empowered to support people holistically.
“People will be supported to achieve their life goals, beyond the narrow remit of a mental health care plan alone.
“This is genuinely transforming the way we deliver health care.”
New teams, including psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, peer support workers and community connectors working in partnership with primary care clinicians, social prescribers, clinical pharmacists and community health services have been set up to ensure that patients can receive NHS care within a new four week time frame.
Jane Milligan, accountable officer for the NHS clinical commissioning groups across all the areas, told the Hackney Gazette: “The announcement of this funding is great news for east London, and particularly for those living in our area who require support from mental health care services.
“The life expectancy of people with severe mental illnesses can be up to 20 years lower than the general population, and that’s why improving the care and support available at a local level is a key priority for us and our partners.”
This news comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of £1.8 billion for NHS. Four of the 20 projects with new funding are dedicated to improving primary health care in London.
Ben Gershlick, senior economist at the Health Foundation, told GP Online: “This extra money risks being little more than a drop in the ocean. Many hospitals, GP surgeries, and community and mental health facilities across England are in major disrepair. Just bringing England up to the OECD average for capital spending on health care would require an extra £4bn (in 2019/20 prices) a year by 2023/24.
“It also remains to be seen how much of this pledge will amount to new money or whether the intention is to give the go ahead for previously cancelled plans within the existing capital budget.”