News

Numbers of mental health nurses fall by 15%

The RCN has criticised figures which reveal a 15% drop in the number of mental health nurses in England over the last six years.

The RCN has criticised figures which reveal a 15% drop in the number of mental health nurses in England over the last six years. Figures show a loss of 6,610 mental health nurses over the last six years.

There were 45,384 mental health nurses working in England in 2010 compared to 38,774 in July this year, according to a written parliamentary answer from health minister Philip Dunne.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: These numbers make it clear why so many mental health patients are simply not getting the care they need.

The government has committed to equal treatment of mental and physical illness, but these figures show how far the health system is from achieving that.

Treatment care warning

She warned that without the right number of nurses, people would not be able to get the

The RCN has criticised figures which reveal a 15% drop in the number of mental health nurses in England over the last six years. Figures show a loss of 6,610 mental health nurses over the last six years.

mental health nurses
Picture: iStock

There were 45,384 mental health nurses working in England in 2010 compared to 38,774 in July this year, according to a written parliamentary answer from health minister Philip Dunne.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘These numbers make it clear why so many mental health patients are simply not getting the care they need.

‘The government has committed to equal treatment of mental and physical illness, but these figures show how far the health system is from achieving that.’

Treatment care warning

She warned that without the right number of nurses, people would not be able to get the care and treatment they need.

‘Early intervention is the most effective way to tackle mental health issues, but at the moment patients often aren’t being treated until they reach breaking point and problems are escalating out of control.

‘The pressures on mental health services are spilling out into social care, emergency departments and even police custody. The government needs to ensure we have enough nursing staff for all patients to get the care they need – when they need it.’

A Department of Health spokesperson claimed the figures do not show the full picture of the mental health workforce and that mental health nursing trainee places have increased year-on-year since 2013.

‘Since 2012, the number of trainee doctors working in mental health settings during their foundation programme has more than doubled, we have seen the highest ever fill rate for core psychiatry training, and mental health nursing trainee places are growing at a faster rate than any other nursing specialty in the NHS.

‘This government is determined to address some of the very deep inequalities that people with mental health face, and while we have more to do, progress is being made.’

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs