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Shortage of mental health professionals in UK needs to be addressed

Shortage of mental health professionals in UK needs to be addressed.

James Gray

Owner/Editor at Busara Ltd
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. My photo-journalism has been represented by Agence France-Presse.
James Gray

After a recent study indicating that a ‘dire shortage’ of mental health professionals is leaving staff ‘near breaking point’, WR Health has urged hospitals to reassess their staffing solutions to prevent the current crisis worsening.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 professionals by the British Medical Association (BMA) run in collaboration with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), 52% of respondents said they were too busy to provide the care they would like.

Of those surveyed, 65% said that on their last shift, there was a shortage of one or more nursing staff. Meanwhile, 44% said they felt demoralised, and the same number said their workload is unmanageable.

Emma Platt, Division Manager of WR Health, commented:

‘This is just another indication that urgent action is needed to address the skills crisis in mental health. While government plans include an increase of 4,000 nurses, 5,000 support workers and 600 social workers – these will be unachievable without targeted recruitment campaigns.

‘As it stands, the mental healthcare workforce has barely grown since 2009, with a loss of 7,000 professionals in the field. Unless there is urgent investment, current pressures may make it harder to attract nurses in the future.’

‘At a time when vacancies for nurses specialising in dementia have jumped by 304% between 2018 and 2019 – and the Alzheimer’s Society predicts that one million people in the UK will have dementia by 2021 – action is needed sooner rather than later.’