Mental Health Care In The UK
The health care situation in the UK has long remained split between privatized and nationalized health care. The NHS was founded in 1948 as a means of providing affordable, accessible health care to the masses.
Private clinics became available for those that want to pay for private care. Furthermore, the rise of BUPA paved the way for paid medical insurance and access to services and standards the NHS couldn’t meet. Even so, the NHS remained a model of social care and affordable services.
Mental Health Care In The UK Is Struggling, But Improvements Have Been Made.
Today, the NHS is struggling under the weight of government standards, weak funding and a lack of resources. However, it is quite seen as one of the best British creations of the 20th century. There is a lot to criticize within the health care system in the UK today, but there is also a lot to celebrate.
The change in attitudes towards mental health services is a great example. There is still a long way to go to meet the needs of patients. Accessibility of services and communication between departments could be better. On the positive side, the range of services is growing, and there is a greater consideration of what needs to be achieved.
The NHS saw an overhaul of principles and approaches in 2000. It was an attempt to modernize the system and the way that mental health services were provided to patients. It was declared that the NHS needed to provide a more comprehensive selection of services and improve access at a primary, intermediate, hospital and community level. There was also the promise to improve informational services in self-care and health promotion, both of which are essential in mental health care
This Overhaul Saw An Increase In The Number Of Services Available And A Change In Approaches.
Diversity, accessibility, and social reach were the keys to these principles. This meant more services in treatment centers and the community, a wider range of services and improved access to information. Patients can be referred to some mental health services in the UK by their GP, but there are also many options for self-referral.
It was only a few times after the birth of the NHS that the health care system in the UK celebrated the use of lithium for manic depression. Mental hospitals still acted as holding pens for the mentally ill and many remained in use for decades to come. Mental health concern is now more continuous, with a focus on the condition and association outreach.
Psychotherapy sessions can cover anything from psychosis and phobia to PTSD and OCD. Specialized clinics exist for eating disorders, drug dependency, and dementia. Attitudes to medication have also changed, with patients being given a greater say in their treatment options.
Accessibility to treatment options has also expanded in the way that patients can reach out for help. The direct route is to see a GP and get a prescription for medication or a referral to a treatment option. However, there are also many charities, help-lines and specialized services out there that don’t require a doctor’s referral.
- Adolescent services are provided through schools
- workplace stress can be treated through occupational health services via employers
- local authorities can recommend groups and support services for the disabled
- charities like MIND provide independently supported
- helplines like The Samaritans are open every hour of the day, all year round.
The rebranding of the NHS Choices scheme and the focus on online content means that mentally ill patients can go online and find dedicated pages about a range of issues. Some straightforward guide to dealing with issues such as anxiety, eating disorders and drug dependency.
Others are more interactive with quiz and questionnaires.
The 2016 Five Year Forward View For Mental Health And The Future Of Mental Health Services In The UK.
The modernization of 2000 seems a long time ago now. It is important to look at the progress made and the changes still needed. This report from the Independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS was assembled in February of 2016. The findings make for interesting reading and highlight issues with those fundamental principles. It seems that there is a way to go with accessibility to services and communication between departments. The report found that:
- Comprehensive liaison services are currently only available in 16% of England’s 179 acute hospitals.
- A quarter of those using secondary services does not know who is responsible for the coordination of their care needs
- The same number had not agreed on the care option they would be receiving.
- Only a minority of UK A&E departments provide 24/7 liaison services that reach minimum quality standards.
This shows that while the ideas are there, the execution needs a lot of work.
Then there are the most worrying statistics about spending and success rates. It seems that budget cuts and spending issues are hitting mental health care patients carefully. The results can be devastating:
- Mental health equates to 23% of NHS activity, yet spending on secondary services as it relates to just half of this.
- 28% of suicides were carried out by people who had been receiving some form of mental health care within 12 months before their death.
These Finding Led To The Following Recommendations On The Future On Mental Healthcare In The UK.
This report was created with one eye looking forward to future improvements. The 16% service rates need to rise. The task force is a target of at least 50% of acute hospitals meeting the core 24’ service standard by 2020/21. They also state that all acute hospitals should offer all-age mental health liaison services in their emergency departments and inpatient wards.
At the moment, the mental health care system in the UK has some good intentions, but it needs more funding, better communication between departments and a broader reach. The ideas are clearly there, and some patients are benefiting from the improved access to information and the focus on community projects. The next step is to make these services more widely available and work on the attitudes of those providing them.