Healthcare Roundup – 10th March 2017


Guest Blog

Martin BellWe need a people-powered ‘digital dynamic’ for digital health
Engaging clinicians and patients in the design and delivery of digital health is essential if we are to create a digital dynamic that enhances the use of the technology in healthcare, says Martin Bell, the former deputy managing director at EMIS Health and director of IM&T at North Bristol NHS Trust.

Budget roundup – what it means for health & social care

Philip HammondBudget 2017 sees increased funding for social care and NHS: Chancellor Philip Hammond announced funding to help address the crisis in social care and pressures on accident and emergency (A&E) departments in the spring budget this week. Hammond’s budget included a commitment to inject £2bn into adult social care spending over the next three years, with £1bn available in 2017-18, reported Health Service Journal (HSJ – subscription required). HSJ said that it understood NHS organisations will have no formal influence over how the new social care funding is spent in the next financial year, £1bn of which councils will receive in 2017-18, but that a “tight accountability framework” will be introduced in 2018-19. A green paper will be published in the autumn to set out the options for the future funding of social care. The chancellor also announced £325m of new capital funding to support the “strongest” sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), with the investment spread over three years. Further STP funding is expected to be announced in the autumn budget. An extra capital investment of £100m specifically for A&E departments was also announced, to help manage demand in advance of a future winter crisis.

Reporting in The Guardian, doctors welcomed the £100m to help triage and treat less seriously ill patients. “Having primary care on site will undoubtedly benefit patients,” said Dr Chris Moulton, vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors. But the British Medical Association and NHS Providers said they doubted there were enough GPs to staff such services, given the chronic lack of family doctors. The newspaper also noted that the chancellor made clear that he expected “local authorities to act now to commission new care packages” for the coming financial year to use the social care funding. This would help alleviate pressure on the NHS and enable mainly frail, elderly people to be better supported at home. Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust health thinktank, said the £1bn for social care would plug only half of the £2bn funding gap it expected in 2017-18. “More and more vulnerable people are therefore going to be denied the help they need in the next year,” he said. Meanwhile, the additional £325m for the NHS’s capital budget is intended to enable six to 10 “pioneer” STPs, which the NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, will identify later this month, to go ahead, shaking up how care is delivered in their area, particularly by providing many more services outside of hospitals.

Budget 2017 reaction – Welcome, but is it enough?: Reaction to the spring budget saw many commentators welcome the extra funds, but some wonder if the investment would be enough.

Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund, said: “The additional money announced today is welcome recognition of the huge pressures facing social care. It will provide some short-term relief for older and disabled people, families and carers who are being let down by the current system.” He added: “The plan to publish a green paper on the future of social care funding is encouraging, but we have been here before. This time, the government must break the mould and deliver the radical reforms that are so badly needed.”

Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, was less positive. She said: “The health service’s own figures suggest that social care needs a minimum of £2bn next year – the National Living Wage alone adds around £900m to the cost of social care in 2017-18. This will put unacceptable pressure on vulnerable and older people, and their families, who are struggling to manage on a daily basis. The chancellor also announced an extra £325m of capital funding for the NHS in England. But this year capital spending was cut by £1.2bn as investment budgets were raided to fund continuing deficits.” She continued: “The NHS, the social care system, and the thousands who rely on both every day, need adequate levels of investment and today’s budget falls short.” NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson said the Budget was ‘good news’. “On social care the government has finally woken up to what many of us have been saying for some time – that hospitals and community services are desperately struggling, and that huge numbers of vulnerable older people are receiving inadequate or non-existent care,” he said.

Also commenting, Dr Mark Porter, British Medical Association council chair, pointed to the overall spending gap for the NHS and said: “This budget does nothing to address the gaping hole in NHS finances. There is a £30bn gap to fill and we should be increasing the UK’s health spending by at least £10.3bn to match that of other leading European economies. The government also needs to explain how they will fund and recruit GPs to work on site at hospitals when there already aren’t enough to meet the needs of the public.” Katherine Murphy, chief executive of The Patients Association, added: “Overall, the chancellor seems to have fallen into the cycle of ‘crisis, cash, repeat’ identified by the Institute for Government last week. Last autumn there was emergency cash for prisons, today it is social care, and in the autumn budget it could well be the NHS. Patients deserve better-planned and better-funded services than this.”

Philip Hammond’s budget will spark a fierce struggle over how the extra social care funding due next financial year is spent, but it also appears to signal a truce between NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and the government over NHS funding, wrote Alistair Maclellan, editor of the Health Service Journal (subscription required). “There appears to be little control over how local government will spend the money. Instead local NHS organisations – especially hospitals – will be asked whether action by their local authority is helping them free up beds and be encouraged to get ‘lippy’ if it is not. All of this is likely to encourage a fraught atmosphere between all but the closest NHS and social care partners.” He added that the extra funding for the strongest STPs shows the government is responding to the needs of the NHS, but it might have unintended consequences. “There also seems a definite danger of ‘two speed STPs’ beginning to develop as some bids make the grade and others fail the government’s ‘what do we get in return’ test,” he said.

News in brief

Hunt demands NHS hits target for A&E care: Jeremy Hunt has told NHS hospitals they must get back to meeting the target for seeing patients swiftly in accident and emergency (A&E), reported the BBC. In a speech this week, the health secretary said it was “critical for patient safety”. The target of seeing 95% of patients in four hours has been missed in England since July 2015. There was a record low of 85.1% in January. Hunt demanded progress this year and said the target should be hit next year after new funding in the budget. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an extra £2bn for social care over the next three years. This comes after warnings services were under threat with councils, which are in charge of services, reportedly £1bn short of the £19.7bn they need this year. Hunt said the new money would help tackle the problem of patients who were fit to leave hospital having discharge delayed because of a lack of suitable care in the community. This is thought to have contributed to overcrowding in trusts. The health secretary said: “It is absolutely essential we get back to the 95% target. That is critical for patient safety.”

Number of patients missing two-month cancer treatment target window doubles amid warnings A&E crisis is sucking away resources: The number of NHS cancer patients waiting longer than the crucial two-month target window has nearly doubled in the last five years, a new report reveals. Macmillan Cancer support have warned that patients are dying because overrun accident and emergency (A&E) departments are draining the hospital resources needed to give them the prompt treatment they need, reported The Telegraph. One in six people diagnosed with the disease began treatment after the aimed-for 62 days in 2016, according to the charity, making it the third consecutive year in which the health service failed to keep pace with rising demand. NHS England’s Cancer Strategy is supposed to ensure fast access to treatment, however priority for appointments for blood tests and other checks needed before surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy is increasingly being given to A&E patients. The charity also said that the crisis in social care is hampering speedy treatment for cancer patients because operations frequently have to be cancelled due to surgical beds being taken up by older patients for whom spaces cannot be found in care homes. Departments providing diagnostic services such as x-rays, CT scans, biopsies and blood tests are used by all types of patients, but emergency patients “always take priority in these slots”, according to Dr Fran Woodward, Macmillan’s executive director of policy and impact. “The extra admissions are not only a crisis for A&E,” she said.

Trusts must hit A&E targets to secure STF money: NHS Improvement and NHS England have told NHS trusts that the performance element of sustainability and transformation funding will be dependent only on hitting accident and emergency (A&E) targets, according to the Health Service Journal (HSJ, subscription required). NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, and his NHS Improvement counterpart, Jim Mackey, have written a letter, seen by the HSJ, to all provider trust and local authority chief executives, and clinical commissioning group (CCG) accountable officers and clinical leaders. It announced a series of measures to improve A&E performance. These include: ensuring every hospital has a front door “streaming model” by October by drawing up bids for the £100m A&E capital investment announced in the budget; improving care home access to clinical advice; standardising walk-in centres, minor injury units and urgent care centres; and rolling out weekend and evening GP appointments to half the population by March 2018 and 100% by March 2019. Mackey and Stevens also said it was vital for NHS and local authorities to work together to make sure the £1bn announced by the chancellor for social care in 2017-18 is used to free up 2,000-3,000 acute beds. They said: “We would ask that you immediately now engage with the senior leadership of your local adult social care departments to discuss how those patients stuck in hospital needing home care or care home places can access those services. It is also, however, indisputable that there are places which have still not adopted best practice to enable appropriate flow, including better and more timely handoffs between A&E clinicians and acute physicians, discharge to assess, ‘trusted assessor’ arrangements, streamlined continuing healthcare processes, and seven day discharge capabilities. You now need to ensure these happen everywhere, and well before October 2017.” The letter also announced that NHS England’s national urgent and emergency care director, Pauline Philip, has been appointed as a joint leader with NHS Improvement to implement these improvement measures.

New national data system launched for primary care in Scotland: A new primary care information system that will let GPs, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government and medical researchers have a better understanding of the health and social care needs of the population has been launched, reported Holyrood. SPIRE (the Scottish Primary Care Information Resource) will provide anonymised data from GP practices to help medical professionals more effectively target resources and treatments at a time when people are living longer with multiple conditions. It can also be used by researchers to help develop new treatments for particular conditions or diseases. Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the British Medical Association’s Scottish general practitioners committee, said: “It means GPs can, for example, analyse how many of their diabetic patients have got eye problems, and then maybe do some more screening and interventions to reduce those problems. They could look at the number of patients with stroke who have disabilities and perhaps get them on to an exercise programme. There are many different examples of how, with the right information, you can target the right kind of things to help people with their everyday lives. We need a better understanding of the health of Scotland’s population, and know where to spend our money, time and resources, to make it better. We need Scotland to be a healthier nation and SPIRE is essential for that.” Data will be transferred electronically from GP practices to NHS National Services Scotland where it will be held securely and confidentially. Speaking at Holyrood’s Digital Health and Care Scotland conference, health secretary Shona Robison called it “an excellent example of how Scottish society as a whole can benefit from analysing anonymised data from NHS systems”.

General practice could be vertically integrated into new accountable care systems, says Stevens: The NHS England chief executive has outlined plans for up to a quarter or more sustainability and transformation plan (STP) areas to be developed into accountable care arrangements, with local health and care organisations given joint responsibility for their populations, reported GPOnline. Stevens has said that the move would effectively end the purchaser-provider split in the NHS in those areas for the first time since 1990. Speaking at a Nuffield Trust policy event, Stevens said one element of the move to accountable care systems would be stronger vertical integration of GP services with the rest of the NHS. Questioned as to how the NHS would end the purchaser-provider split within the existing legislative framework, Stevens said there would be a ‘pragmatic’ approach. In parts of the country where accountable care systems would be developed, he said, the national bodies would be looking for a number of requirements to be met. STP systems would have to move away from activity-based ‘click of the turnstile’ funding flows between local NHS bodies, he said. The ACO systems would instead have population health budgets and trusts will operate as a network of providers.

MPs admit emergency departments are not sufficiently funded: Only a third of MPs believe that emergency departments have the resources they require to keep their patients safe, a poll conducted by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has revealed. The poll surveyed 92 MPs of all parties and regions in the UK and found that a strong majority (60%) supported a transformation fund to help with the retention and recruitment of accident and emergency staff, with 85% of surveyed Labour MPs voting to support such an initiative, reported National Health Executive. The poll also went against government claims that the NHS was getting more than the minimum £8bn by 2020 that it had asked for, as only half of Conservative MPs polled said that they thought emergency departments were adequately resourced. President of the RCEM, Dr Taj Hassan, said: “This is surely now the time for the government to act. The struggling NHS is currently the number one issue for people in this country and this poll shows a large majority of MPs – across all parties – believe urgent action is needed to address the lack of resources that is threatening patient safety. At present staff are struggling with just where to put patients – bed occupancy levels are far higher than the safe limit of 85%. This is unacceptable and is resulting in misery for our patients and added stress for our staff; the need for more beds is clear.”

Trust chief appointed national leader for A&E improvement: NHS England’s national urgent and emergency care director, Pauline Philip, has been appointed as a joint leader with NHS Improvement to implement a series of accident and emergency (A&E) improvement measures, reported Health Service Journal (HSJ – subscription required). The new position was announced in a letter to senior health leaders sent by NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, and NHS Improvement chief executive, Jim Mackey. The letter follows chancellor Philip Hammond announcing £100m for capital investment specifically in accident and emergency departments. Philip is also chief executive of Luton and Dunstable University Hospital Foundation Trust. The £100m is expected to put an urgent treatment centre based on the model of Luton and Dunstable in every A&E in England. The letter, seen by HSJ, was sent to all trust and local authority chief executives, and clinical commissioning group accountable officers and clinical leaders today. Mackey and Stevens said: “In order to ensure complete alignment between NHS England and NHS Improvement in supporting and overseeing urgent implementation of the above actions, we have appointed Pauline Philip as the single national leader accountable to us jointly.”

Barts Trust enters ‘gig economy’ style care contract with Cera: Barts Health NHS Trust and a number of NHS organisations have entered into a partnership with technology group Cera to tackle integrated care challenges by trying to free up hospital beds and overhaul how home support can be delivered to patients at home, reported Government Computing. The company will support the five London-based hospitals managed by the trust with its platform technology, which aims to link patients to available carers that can meet their specific health needs at home, effectively bringing peer-to-peer services similar to those provided by groups like Uber to the trust. Other NHS clinical commissioning groups are also said to be making use of Cera’s technology as part of moves to support elderly patients with hospital discharge and trying to prevent readmissions with on-demand care at their homes. According to the company, the platform service is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and aims to streamline the process for connecting carers with patients. Company co-founder, Dr Ben Maruthappu, said the agreement with Barts was intended to offer a new approach to overcome challenges around how the NHS and local authorities are able to link up hospital and social care services amidst financial and governance challenges. “These partnerships tackle major challenges in the NHS, cracking down on bed-blocking and delayed discharges, while providing high-quality and efficient care. Cera’s aim is to set the precedent for technology-led care solutions that benefit patients, families and the NHS alike,” he said.

Allscripts accepted onto NHS digital framework: Healthcare information technology provider Allscripts has been accepted onto the NHS London Procurement Partnership’s (LPP) Clinical and Digital Information Systems (CDIS) Framework in the acute care and innovation categories, reported DigitalHealthAge. The CDIS Framework was created to help healthcare organisations be fully compliant with the Personalised Health and Care 2020 Digital Framework. It aims to help organisations access software applications that combine both clinical and administrative data. For the acute care category, Allscripts was accepted for its Sunrise electronic patient record (EPR), whilst for the innovation category it was accepted for its CareInMotion and 2bPrecise population health IT products. Sunrise is an electronic patient record designed to offer workflows which can support improved patient outcomes. CareInMotion is an adaptable framework that enables healthcare organisations to address specific population health priorities, including connectivity, care coordination, analytics and patient engagement. Allscripts’ subsidiary, 2bPrecise, is a cloud-based, precision medicine platform that combines genomic, clinical and lifestyle data, whilst also offering EPR-centred workflows that work with existing provider workflows. Alan Fowles, president, Allscripts Global said: “Healthcare is entering a period of remarkable change with significant financial constraints. By creating the CDIS framework, LPP provides access to critical technology like the innovative solutions delivered by Allscripts. Through this framework, LPP aims to reduce procurement costs and enable NHS organisations to localise their health IT requirements.”

NHS app library to be launched this month: The long awaited NHS app library will be live by the end of March, but initially with only with a handful of apps on offer. Speaking at the Digital Technology Show in London, Indra Joshi, clinical lead digital in urgent care at NHS England, said that the app library would be up and running this month. In a Q&A session following her talk, Joshi also said “by end of year we’ll have a good app library up and running, which will tell you what the leading apps are in this space”. Speaking to, Joshi said the app library would be launched on 31st March with a handful of apps in a “skeletal library”. It will be hosted on NHS Choices and co-designed with NICE, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Public Health England and NHS Digital. She described the library as “NHS approved apps, because they’ve gone through rigorous testing”. An NHS England spokesperson would not confirm the release date for the app library but hinted that a beta version would likely be released first. “NHS England and NHS Digital are working together on a number of innovative projects, including a beta digital tools library, with full details set to be announced in due course.”

North Bristol NHS selects CCube Solutions’ electronic document management system: North Bristol NHS Trust has selected CCube Solutions’ electronic document management software (EDMS) to replace all paper case notes with an easy-to-use digital system providing instant access to patient medical records for 6,000 clinicians, nursing and administrative staff, reported Building Better Healthcare. The introduction of EDMS is part of the trust’s phased electronic patient record (EPR) strategy and will facilitate a more-timely and extensive move towards creating a paperlite environment which also involves developing its EPR to reduce the amount of paper created on a daily basis. This will ensure that one of the largest hospitals in the UK serving people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire is paper free at the point of care – a key NHS England and government goal. The new EDMS will enhance clinical effectiveness, reduce operational costs, ensure compliance with Care Quality Commission guidance about records and data management, and ultimately boost patient safety and care. Neil Darvill, North Bristol NHS Trust’s director of informatics, said: “The business case for the EDMS project is predicated on a scan-on-demand model where only the patient notes for people booked to attend clinic will be processed, not everything in the library. This saves a huge amount of money given the other records will be destroyed in line with our retention policies and procedures as and when they reach their expiry dates.”

Taunton and Somerset announces two digital “fast followers”: Global digital exemplar Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust have nominated two digital “fast followers”, the first such trusts named under the next wave of NHS digital transformation, reported The planned arrangement was revealed in the Somerset trust’s February board paper, which also showed the trust was in talks with Google and Apple about new technology partnerships. “We also continue to work closely with our key EPR [electronic patient record] supplier, IMS MAXIMS, and have also had fruitful discussions with Google and Apple on how they can support our digital excellence agenda.” Taunton and Somerset is one of 16 global digital exemplars, designated by NHS England to provide digital transformation “blueprints” for other, less digitally advanced, trusts. Each exemplar can claim up to £10m in central funding. Last month, revealed that the first 20 of these next wave trusts, the so-called “fast followers”, would be announced later this year, with each eligible for up to £5m to digitally transform. Taunton and Somerset has nominated Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Wye Valley NHS Trust as fast follower partners. All three trusts are IMS MAXIMS customers and have, or will, deploy the company’s openMAXIMS electronic patient record. Taunton and Somerset was the first trust in England to deploy an IMS MAXIMS EPR. While the three trusts are not geographically close, understands most other fast followers are likely to be partnered with neighbouring exemplars. IMS MAXIMS chief clinical information officer, Michael Thick, said the fast follower programme would formalise the relationship that already existed between the trusts as IMS MAXIMS customers. Wye Valley and Blackpool will use the blueprint set out by Taunton and Somerset to deploy their own EPR and other systems, he said.

UK and Italian health tech firms to help share crucial data across STPs: Data sharing ambitions set out in newly published sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been given a boost by a new strategic partnership between data management specialist Stalis and Italy’s largest health IT company, Dedalus reported the Health Technology Newspaper. The new partnership looks to make vital patient information, currently stored on dozens or even hundreds of legacy IT systems, accessible for care professionals working in different NHS and public sector organisations. Specifically targeted to help achieve digital ambitions in STPs, which rely on safe and appropriate data sharing between health and social care organisations, the partnership will use open standards to allow key clinical documents to be shared at scale across entire health economies covering thousands, if not millions of people. Stalis’ CareInform system, already in use in the NHS to integrate care records, will be complemented by Dedalus’ X-Value interoperability platform to enable clinicians and care professionals to share clinical documents from multiple care organisations using an open standard called IHE XDS. Andrew Meiner, managing director at Stalis, said: “The move to new models of care places a fresh emphasis on the role of interoperable patient records across health and social care. Organisations on both sides of the fence are accountable for this data, in terms of how it is managed and shared to support patient care.”

UK digital health company Inhealthcare lands another NHS contract for remote monitoring: UK-based digital health company Inhealthcare is now working with Medway Community Healthcare to provide remote monitoring services to people who are self-managing cardiac health, reported mobihealthnews. Using Inhealthcare’s telehealth platform, Medway patients who have been prescribed the anticoagulant Warfarin for long-term use and currently self-test their blood can now manage their condition completely remotely, freeing up time they would otherwise have to spend going to the doctor, as well as reducing pressure on the healthcare system. Patients can use the Roche CoaguChek XS device to take a finger prick test to determine whether they are in the ideal therapeutic range, and the Inhealthcare monitoring system will capture, store and transmit the data securely to the NHS. Patients will then receive correct dosing information in return. The Inhealthcare platform also generates alerts to the patient and their care team, and all information is stored in their electronic health record. “Our technology helps people with long-term conditions to lead more independent lives,” Inhealthcare CEO Bryn Sage said in a statement. “Instead of attending regular appointments at hospital or clinic just to provide basic indicators and receive simple information, patients can now harness the power of technology to do this remotely using their smartphones, computers or landlines.”

Healthcare excellence sought as HSJ Awards 2017 entries open:  Entries are open for the HSJ Awards. Now running for 36 years, these awards have become known for recognising some of the finest achievements in the NHS. With 22 categories to choose from, the awards reflect the full spectrum of the NHS’s services and challenges and highlight examples of outstanding practice and innovation that help to safeguard and improve patient care. Categories this year include: Acute Sector Innovation, Clinical Leader of the Year, Improving Care with Technology, Using Technology to Improve Efficiency, Patient Safety and Proactive Implementation of Supported Self Care. Further information about the awards and how to enter can be found here:

Sales acceleration


Achieving service transformation: resolve the digital paradox
Initiatives to accelerate innovation to the frontline are welcome, but details around funding, technology assessments and integration need ironing out to make rapid health transformation a reality, writes Professor Michael Thick of IMS MAXIMS.

In an article for The Journal of mHealth, Professor Thick, the chief clinical information officer and chief medical officer, reflects on the Accelerated Access Review (AAR).

“Like any review of this kind, the devil is in the detail. Whist accelerating adoption of technology is welcomed, important questions remain around integration, assessments, funding and the bigger digital picture that will determine how much of a good thing the review will be for the paperless agenda.

“The AAR is right to highlight that innovations such as patient-facing apps should be encouraged, but we need to address how this fits into the broader transformation agenda for healthcare providers. It is now widely accepted that the adoption of mobile working is part of the future, but standalone, patient-facing apps that do not share data and knowledge with an enterprise solution present a significant challenge for managing the care pathway. It’s also important not to omit apps developed for healthcare professionals, which, when integrated into an enterprise-wide solution deliver significant benefits to the patient, professional and hospital.   

“Getting value from apps in the delivery of care requires a highly coordinated view, both in clinical and organisational terms. A myriad of self-contained, non-reporting apps makes holistic and informed care, nigh on impossible.”

CIPFA chief exec says budget provides a short-term response and recognises need for a long term solution
The Budget finally gave social care some fiscal attention but it won’t be a game changer by itself – here’s what is needed now, says Rob Whiteman, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in the Health Service Journal (subscription required).

“The social care crisis has dominated political debate over the past few months. Politicians from across the spectrum have been calling for social care to be put on a sustainable financial footing. And so it is a relief that, after all this talk, the chancellor has announced some action,” he says.

“The increases in capital are welcome, but – as they add just 2.5% to the £4.6bn total NHS capital spend – not a game changer. As such, the addition won’t be enough to address the concern that the developing STPs don’t yet have enough upfront investment in place to assure their delivery.

“The social care increase effectively gives local care systems in full from 2017 the extra spending power of £1.5bn which was to be provided incrementally by 2020 through the improved Better Care Fund. This is exactly what CIPFA called for as the minimum assistance needed. That said, it won’t be enough to plug the full social care funding gap, and it is only a short-term response – so it is equally encouraging that the government has signalled its intention to address longer term funding concerns for social care through a green paper.

“The paper signals a meaningful commitment to ensuring there is a sustainable means in place to meet the future needs of an ageing population.

“The chancellor has made a good start in giving short-term assistance and recognising the need for a long-term solution. Now comes the hard part: turning the right intentions into successful action.”

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health: One Year On
NHS England’s national director for mental health, Claire Murdoch, takes a look at the progress made in the first year of the Five Year Forward View programme.

“Over the past year I have witnessed impressive determination across the NHS and beyond, to drive improvements in mental health services. We published our implementation plan in July: a clear, muscular plan, low on frills and high on deliverables. With sign up from NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, the Department of Health and Health Education England, it aims to deliver timely, evidence-based interventions to a million more people by 2021. A short time on, we have already seen some impressive delivery against this, including:

  • The first ever national access standard for children and young people with an eating disorder is now being measured in community teams.
  • New funds have supported improved specialist perinatal community services across 90 CCGs [clinical commissioning groups].
  • 8% of people entering psychological therapy treatment waited less than six weeks.
  • Over 10,000 people with a first episode of psychosis started treatment with a specialist team; and
  • 74% of people who started this treatment did so in two weeks.

“This is just a snapshot of what’s been going on. We have a huge range of plans to improve mental health – from community eating disorder services for children to psychological therapies for people with physical health conditions or court diversion schemes – and lots in between. These treatments are almost completely new on a national scale and it is thrilling to know they will be mainstreamed by 2021.

“We have made a strong start and must redouble our focus and efforts, to achieve our aims to 2021. I feel both proud and privileged to be leading this work and to be doing so alongside such brilliant people. Here’s to the next year!”

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