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New capital fund to boost beds and A&E capacity


England’s mental health inpatient system is “running very hot” and operating well above recommended occupancy levels, HSJ has been told, as new funding to address the problem is revealed.

The move was announced by NHS England mental health director Claire Murdoch in an exclusive interview with HSJ

It comes amid a steep rise in mental health patients waiting more than 12 hours in accident and emergency. Last month, an HSJ investigation revealed 12-hour waits for people in crisis had ballooned by 150% in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels. Problems finding specialist beds have been cited by experts as one of the root causes of A&E breaches.

Ms Murdoch told HSJ the funds would not come from ”within the mental health service budget” and that they would be used to “help address any pressures where we think the answer is more of either beds or other urgent and emergency care which has a capital need.”

NHSE is now working with the 42 integrated care systems to determine where the money can best be used. Ms Murdoch said the money would be spent ”where there is a particular need” and that there was “no blanket approach” to its allocation. 

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 10 August 2022

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