Shortage of mental health professionals must be addressed
Shortage of mental health professionals must be addressed

Shortage of mental health professionals must be addressed

The lack of mental health professionals is leaving staff at ‘near breaking point’.

A study has highlighted what has been described as a ‘dire shortage’ of mental health professionals, leading to a call for hospitals and other organisations in the healthcare sector to assess their staffing solutions if the current crisis is to be prevented from getting even worse.

More than 1,000 professionals were surveyed by the British Medical Association (BMA), in collaboration with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The results revealed 52% of those who responded said they were too busy to provide the care that they would like.

Elsewhere, 65% said they experienced a shortage of one or more nurses on their last shift, and almost half (44%) said they felt demoralised.

The same number said the current workload is unmanageable.

It paints a very worrying picture for the sector in general, but in addition to this, it puts a great strain on the wider business community; poor mental health in the workplace is costing employers up to £45 billion every year, and this will be more keenly felt if the shortage of mental health professionals is worsening.

Emma Platt is the Division Manager of WR Health. She said ‘urgent action’ is required.

“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.”

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