The Prime Minister has said £150 million in Government funding for mental health services will “alleviate pressure” in A&E departments.
The funding up to 2024/25 will be used for 150 new projects to support mental health urgent and emergency care services, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said in a statement.
Rishi Sunak told ITV News the funding would allow those with mental health challenges to be treated “closer to home” as he aimed to reduce the number of patients in A&E.
It will also fund up to 100 new specialist mental health ambulances over the next two years.
Speaking at Berrywood Hospital in Northampton on Monday, Mr Sunak told ITV: “Today’s announcement is going to make a huge difference to people grappling with mental health challenges up and down the country.
“We all know it’s a rising challenge that we face and today’s £150 million is going to go to making sure people get the the treatment that they need compassionately, quickly and most effectively.
“There will be more mental health ambulances, there will be more investment in crisis centres and communities, there will be more mental health professionals engaged with 111.
“All of that is the type of care that makes an enormous difference.
“The added benefit of doing all of that is that it will alleviate pressure in A&E departments because right now, we have a situation where lots of people who are grappling with mental health challenges end up in A&E departments – and it’s not good for them, it’s not good for their families.
“With today’s investment, we can treat them closer to home in settings that are better for them and alleviate some of the pressure that we’re all seeing in A&E departments, so it’s very welcome news.”
The 150 projects include new mental health urgent assessment and care centres, redesigned and refurbished existing mental health facilities including in emergency departments, spaces outside of A&E, and the expansion of crisis lines.
The DHSC said the remaining £7 million of the funding will go to the new ambulances which have been designed to provide a calmer environment for the patient.
The vehicles swap the bright yellow interior of traditional NHS ambulances for simple NHS service logos, while also using dimmable lighting and making space for family and friends to accompany the patient during assessment.
The Government has said it is investing an extra £2.3 billion per year into mental health services by 2024, which will deliver an additional 27,000 mental health professionals and give two million more people the help they need.