Stepping Forward To 2020/21 - The Mental Health Workforce Plan for England

Stepping Forward To 2020/21 - The Mental Health Workforce Plan for England

There has never been a more important time to work in mental health.


There is a genuine consensus that mental health matters as much as physical health and it is one of only four priority areas that will benefit from additional resource needed to deliver real improvements for those who access services. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health set out the improvements we can expect in mental health services by 2021. Now we need to make sure we have the workforce to deliver them. Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrists and peer support workers – to name but a few – will turn our ambitions into a lived reality for patients and their carers.


Stepping Forward to 2020/21: the mental health workforce plan for England sets out a high level road map and reflects the additional staff required to deliver the transformation set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health based on best evidence to date. We are working with NHS England, other arms length bodies (ALBs), and local service providers to trial essential components of this programme (including, for example, integrated IAPT services, perinatal care and an expansion of liaison services) to identify the best skill mix to deliver evidence-based care in the optimal way and test innovations (e.g. increasing use of digital services) designed to improve productivity. Findings from these workstreams will be used to refine this model.This plan makes clear that no one organisation holds all of the levers necessary to produce the required workforce. Delivery will require providers, commissioners, ALBs, local authorities and the third sector to work together to ensure we recruit, retrain and retain the staff that we need. Success requires not just good data, but patient-focussed thinking, pro-active, system level leadership and behaviours that reflect the values of the NHS Constitution. But we know change is already happening as staff in mental health services develop new and better services: the integration of physical and mental health, the range of settings and partnerships, self-care and user-led models.


This document provides a basis for local conversations and plans to enable local systems to continue to deliver improved services. Our primary focus has been to identify key actions to deliver the 2021 commitments, from a starting position where mental health services are not meeting current need. HEE will continue to work with our partners to develop a longer-term strategy to ensure we have enough people with the right skills in the right place to meet the forecast needs of patients.