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SECTOR NEWS: Mental health top priority for UK public according to watchdog survey

Publication date: January 3, 2018

Access and quality of mental health services are a major priority for the public in 2018, a survey has found.

Healthwatch, the consumer champion for health and social care, said mental health topped the list in its annual survey of health and care priorities for third year running.

The survey identified the top five issues people want to see addressed over the next 12 months with mental health services once again a priority for most communities.

Using the information gathered from 152 local Healthwatch groups across the country, the watchdog said 65% of local groups found that local communities placed mental health at the top of the list, highlighting that access to and quality of mental health services should be addressed in 2018.

In particular, Healthwatch said, people want to see changes to the care and support available to children and young people.

‘Communities have also told us that more needs to be done to ensure that people with mental health conditions are diagnosed in a timely and consistent manner, given support sooner, and are treated before they reach crisis,’ Healthwatch added.

Second on the list were social care services, in particular adult social care focusing on support for elderly people and their carers, followed by the health and care services working better together to improve care delivery, hospital care and GP and dental services.

‘We want to see all working in health and social care make it their personal New Year’s resolution for 2018 to work with people as partners in designing the future of services,’ Imelda Redmond, National Director of Healthwatch England said.