Understanding what works, and why, is crucial to ensuring that improvement work will deliver the change that is required. Identifying and recognising challenges and weaknesses is therefore a vital part of delivering improvement. We want to create an environment where learning can be shared, successful approaches can be up-scaled, and unsuccessful approaches changed or stopped.
Across society, we see a constantly evolving understanding of good mental health, mental ill health, and mental wellbeing. In the past, many people were unwilling or unable to discuss their mental ill-health and seek appropriate support and treatment. This is thankfully beginning to change.
We also need to ensure that the public’s understanding and expectation of mental health services is accurate and appropriate. The services that are being delivered also need to better reflect need. We know that there is a gap between how current services are configured and some of the overall needs of the population. There is often too great a focus on crisis and specialist services. For both adults and children, there need to be new models of support that are less specialised, available for far more people, and that are delivered across different services and settings. People need to be able to get the right help at the right time, in the right place.
The 2018 Programme for Government reflects the important role of the NHS in improving the mental and physical health of Scotland’s people. And through our investment of a quarter of a billion pounds, we have also made it clear that we need to deliver mental health services across all levels of Government, public services, third sector and communities.
We know that changing the location and nature of services and support requires a development of the skills and capacity of the workforce who will deliver these services. This means up-skilling people across health and other sectors to ensure they are sensitive and responsive to emerging need. We also need to enable approaches which are preventative, and deliver early interventions where we can. It means ensuring that access to mental health professionals is seamless and efficient, so that support is in place to the benefit of the individual and to allow other key services to function.
Related to this, we also know that the workforce must grow. We are investing significantly through Action 15 of the Strategy, committing significant investment to delivering an additional 800 mental health professionals by 2021-22. We are doing this in partnership with Integrated Authorities, Health Boards, Local Authorities and other key sectors, recognising the different services and settings where people can present while in distress.
And finally, the role of data and information is another area where there is significant scope for improvement. We need to move away from the current focus on waiting times and workforce statistics, and instead use evidence to identify areas for improvement, what works, and what hasn’t. Measuring patient outcomes and experience will also be important. Action 38 of the Strategy – the launch of a Quality Indicator profile and a Mental Health data framework – will be key to this.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback