Laura Sharman 12 August 2020

Demand could overwhelm mental health services, report warns

People with mental health issues are at risk of not getting the support they need due to increasing demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a report has warned today.

The NHS Confederation said that increased demand for services, alongside reduced capacity, meant that mental health services could soon be overwhelmed.

The report found that although some providers are predicting a 20% increase across all their mental health services, they are only able to care for 10-30% less patients due to infection control and social distancing.

Sean Duggan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, said: 'Providers are facing this with reduced capacity across their services, with significant funding constraints, and with a workforce that is close to burnout due to vacancy levels and the pressures placed upon them.

'If these issues are not addressed, it could overwhelm services and lead to people having to wait longer for mental health support and their conditions deteriorating.'

The report calls for appropriate financial and staffing resources to be allocated to mental health services, and for a national recruitment campaign focused specifically on attracting people into mental healthcare roles.

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