Knowledge & Insight

A crisis in Mental Health

Mon 16 November 2015

It is inevitable that the ongoing cuts to mental health funding will create a negative impact on the quality of care, and this has been highlighted in a recent paper by The King’s Fund which states that just 14% of patients claim to have received appropriate care in a crisis. This is damning evidence of a sharp decline in service provision, and one that demands the immediate attention of policy makers. Yet we should expect little response in terms of additional support, and it is clear that responsibility for finding ways to maintain and retrieve standards of care will fall squarely upon the shoulders of the leaders and executives of the UK’s frontline mental health service providers.

Finding a positive response to funding pressures

Despite this apparent decline in service provision, it should be noted that the sector has not been slow to respond to the challenges posed by funding cuts. In recent years, a number of major transformation programmes have been implemented, driving greater efficiency and seeking to protect or enhance standards of patient care in the face of shrinking resources. Many of these programmes have sought to remove costs by shifting the pressure off acute services and towards care in the community, with a focus on recovery and self-management. However, in many cases this has resulted in a departure from evidence-based best-practice, leading to the adoption of new models of care and pathways that differ markedly from the National Service Framework for Mental Health.

Progress through innovation

It would be wrong to blame mental health organisations for failing to adhere to recognised pathways, because in the face of such drastic cuts, there is little option left to them. In fact, forward-thinking mental health executives have led the way in the development of enlightened innovations that have helped to maintain standards in extremely difficult circumstances. The challenges are many, including a reduction in the number of experienced nurses and, in many areas, an acute mismatch between staff skills and patient requirements. And to compound the issue, this is happening at a time when many mental health professionals are seeing an increase in demand for their services, as funding cuts across all areas of the public sector place increased strain on vulnerable individuals. In the face of such obstacles, the challenge to find a positive way forward can seem insurmountable. Yet the way that mental health service providers have already adapted is proof of the talent and vision that exists within the sector.

The talent to overcome the challenge

Any organisation’s ability to navigate its way through these turbulent times depends to a large extent on the expertise and experience of its executives. And as demand for commercially focused clinical leaders has intensified, employers are increasingly seeking the services of specialist mental health executive recruitment firms to help them identify and attract leading talent. Stone Executive leads the way in mental health executive recruitment. As a well-respected mental health executive search firm, our team of mental health headhunters boast a professional network that spans the NHS, private sector providers, mental health charities and government agencies. Mental health headhunting is a highly specialised field, and we are very proud of our excellent track-record in identifying and recruiting high-calibre candidates, wherever they may be.

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