The NHS must continue to invest in effective mental health services across the country if it is to meet the challenge set out today by NHS Providers in its report, The Performance Challenge, Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said today.

“Today’s report highlights the big challenges facing NHS hospitals in keeping pace with demand for care. It rightly notes that achieving the goals set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health will be an essential part of meeting the wider challenge.

“Effective investment in mental health support will make the whole health and care system more sustainable and productive. Historical under-investment in mental health support for people with long-term physical conditions costs the NHS around £10 billion a year. Investing in liaison psychiatry services in acute hospitals, in talking therapies for people with long-term conditions and ‘medically unexplained symptoms’, and in better primary care and social care for people with mental health difficulties improves people’s health, saves lives and is excellent value for money.

Historical under-investment in mental health support for people with long-term physical conditions costs the NHS around £10 billion a year.

“It is crucial that the NHS at every level remains committed to implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health in full in order to bring about the change that is needed to benefit everyone. These are challenging times for the NHS, and more so for local government, so any long-term funding settlement must include fair funding for mental health and investment in both public health and social care as well as health services.”