This week NHS England published the NHS Long Term Plan, setting out how they will make the NHS fit for the future, stating the long-term plan could save up to 500,000 lives over the next decade.



Frontline health and care staff, patient groups and other experts had the opportunity to contribute views through the 200 events and 2,500 submissions.


The Plan commits to spending a third of the extra £20bn the NHS will get by 2023 on GPs, community care and mental health. Mental health is due to get £2.3bn extra of the £20bn, while GP and community care is to get £4.5bn.


Page 68 of the plan focuses on Adult Mental Health Services. It states that the plan 'makes a renewed commitment to grow investment in mental health services faster than the NHS budget overall for each of the next five years'.


A summary of the plan’s ambitions includes:

  • New models of care for people with 'severe mental illnesses' will include access to psychological therapies, improved physical health care, employment support, personalised and trauma-informed care, medicines management and support for self-harm and coexisting substance use. 
  • Emergency mental health support will be available in all A&E departments and inpatient wards through 'an all-age mental health liaison service' by 2020/2. Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call NHS 111 and have 24/7 access to the mental health support. Alternative forms of support and service provision for people in crisis, such as sanctuaries, safe havens and crisis cafes will provide a more suitable alternative to A&E.  Waiting times targets for emergency mental health services to take effect from 2020. Staff training, ambulance control room triage and separate vehicle provision for the Ambulance Service.
  • Inpatient care typical length of stay to reach the national average of 32 days. Ending acute out of area placements by 2021. Improving physical environments.
  • Suicide prevention will include a dedicated quality improvement programme to implement the findings from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health in addition to multi-agency suicide prevention plans.
  • Expansion of perinatal mental health services, NHS 111 and 24/7 access to mental health support. Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme and bereavement support.
  • The use of digital tools (Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme) to personalise care and predict risk.
  • Expansion of IAPT services for people with common mental health problems, with a focus on those with long-term conditions. By 2023/24, an additional 380,000 adults and older adults will be able to access NICE-approved IAPT services.
  • Testing of four week waiting times adult and older adult community mental health teams, with selected local areas in order to set access standards for community mental health services.


Ambitions for children and young people’s mental health services is on page 50 of the plan. A commitment to investment and faster growth is made, particularly in community-based mental health services, eating disorder services and age appropriate crisis services.


There will be new Mental Health Support Teams working in schools and colleges, building on the support already available, to be rolled out to between one-fifth and a quarter of the country by the end of 2023. There will also be new services for children who have complex needs, including a number of children who have been subject to sexual assault.


The Stopping over-medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both and Supporting Treatment and Appropriate Medication in Paediatrics (STOMP-STAMP) programmes will be expanded. The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme (LeDeR) will continue to be funded and waiting times for specialist services will be reduced. Awareness training and national learning disability improvement standards will be implemented and a 'digital flag' system will be implemented by 2023/24 to ensure staff know a patient has a learning disability or autism.



Read the NHS Long Term Plan here.


Media coverage and commentary of the launch of the NHS Long Term Plan includes: