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NHS to recruit 21,000 mental health staff to address 'historic imbalance'

John Ashmore

2 min read

Jeremy Hunt has announced the recruitment of 21,000 extra mental health staff to redress what he calls a "historic imbalance" in the NHS workforce.

The Government aims to have the extra nurses, therapists, psychiatrists and support workers in place by 2021. 

Funding will come from the £1.3bn for mental health services ministers announced last year. 

Medical schools will also be asked to give equal weight to psychology A-Levels as to 'hard' sciences to encourage more students with an interest in mental health.

The extra staff include: 2,000 nurses, consultants and therapists in child and adolescent mental health; 2,900 staff working on talking therapies for adults; 4,800 nurses and therapists in crisis care and 570 new psychiatric consultants.

"We want people with mental health conditions to receive better treatment, and part of that means having the right NHS staff," Mr Hunt said.

"We know we need to do much more to attract, retain and support the mental health workforce of the future - today is the first step to address this historic imbalance in workforce planning."

Labour's Shadow Mental Health Minister Barbara Keeley said the Government had not been clear on how it would take on the extra staff.

"The workforce plan provides no real answers on how these new posts will be funded or how recruitment issues will be overcome," she said.

"And it offers little hope to those working in the sector faced with mounting workloads, low pay and poor morale."

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