DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service.
A new agency to
ensure national mental health policies bring about real
improvements for patients and carers will start work on 1 April,
Care Services Minister Phil Hope announced today.
The new agency - the National Mental Health Development Unit -
will succeed the current National Institute for Mental Health in England.
The change follows a review of mental health service delivery,
taking into account Lord Darzi's NHS Next Stage Review and
the need for more personalised services. From April, the ten
strategic health authorities* will oversee much of the regional
and local delivery of new mental health policies, with support
from the new Development Unit.
The Development Unit will continue the momentum in co-ordinating
support for key mental health projects such as:
* improving access to talking therapies;
* promoting equalities in mental health services for different
groups, based on race, gender and age;
* promoting social inclusion and social justice for people with
mental health problems;
* promoting well-being and mental health for the whole
* supporting effective mental health commissioning.
The unit will be led by Dr Ian McPherson, former head of the
National Institute for Mental Health.
Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:
"The National Mental Health Development Unit will make sure
that mental health services around the country continue to go from
strength to strength.
"New Horizons and the Darzi review mean we must actively
promote public mental health and well-being, as well as spreading
best practice and maintaining world-class mental health services
everywhere. The National Mental Health Development Unit will help
us do this."
Louis Appleby, National Director of Mental Health Services, said:
"The National Institute for Mental Health demonstrated the
importance of having a national body to help care for our mental
health. Mental health care reform is as important as ever and I
look forward to working with the National Mental Health
Development Unit in supporting the delivery of the next generation
of mental health policies."
Dr Ian McPherson, Director of the National Mental Health
Development Unit said:
"I am privileged to lead this new unit. I recognise that
some people may be concerned that as the National Institute for
Mental Health is ending, the national profile of mental health
could be reduced. I am determined that will not happen.
"I look forward to working with former National Institute
for Mental Health colleagues as they establish new regional
arrangements to deliver mental health services in a manner more
suited to the post-National Service Framework era."
Steve Shrubb, Director of the Mental Health Network, NHS
"The NHS Confederation's mental health network looks
forward to working with the National Mental Health Development
Unit to build on the impressive work of the National Institute of
Mental Health in England in supporting the development and
implementation of key strands of mental health policy."
Sir Neil McKay, Chief Executive of NHS East of England who led
the review on behalf of the Strategic Health Authority chief
"The Strategic Health Authorities welcome the Department of
Health's commitment to implementing mental health policy on
the basis of co-production and the establishment of the National
Mental Health Development Unit to support this. Strategic Health
Authorities will be using the additional resources they have
acquired in these changes to ensure that the key mental health
priorities of their regions identified by the Next Stage Review
Clinical Pathway Groups are effectively progressed. "
Richard Webb, Joint Chair of the Association of Directors of
Adult Social Services Mental Health Network said:
"ADASS welcomes the creation of the National Mental Health
Development Unit. NIMHE has played a vital role over the past
decade in improving mental health services. However, the New
Horizons review gives us the challenge of addressing much broader
issues about mental health within society, as well as mental
health care, and we look forward to working with the new unit to
take these issues forward."
Notes to Editors
More information about the unit can be found on its website http://www.nmhdu.org.uk which
will be available from 1 April 2009.
*The ten Strategic Health Authorities cover the following areas:
North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands,
West Midlands, South West, South Central, London, East of England
and South East Coast.