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Mental health commissioning guidance released

Mental health commissioning guidance released


Guidance to help commissioners support choice for mental health patients has been issued by NHS England.

The interim guidance covers issues such as how to support patients in their choices and provides clarity on pricing and paying for mental health services.

Patients are able to choose any mental health service provider in England as long as a clinical commissioning group (CCG) or NHS England have a contract with them.

NHS England’s director for long term conditions, Dr Martin McShane said: “Patients’ right to choose who provides their mental health care and treatment is a major step towards establishing ‘parity of esteem’, or equal status, between mental and physical health services in the NHS.”

NHS England is currently in the process of improving information on the mental healthcare services in order to help patients choose a provider.

The organisation believes that increased choice in services and transparency of prices is likely to improve services and patient outcomes.

Commissioners, GPs and providers are encouraged to use the interim guidance and NHS England will hold subsequent discussions with them to outline the areas that need improving.

The Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb MP said: “Through the mandate, we have asked NHS England to make sure that choice will be fully embedded by 2015.”

As of 1st April 2014, mental health patients have had the same rights as physical health patients when deciding upon where they have their first outpatient appointment.

Norman Lamb MP said: “As with physical health conditions, with the help of their GP patients can now choose who provides their care. Patients can choose to be referred outside of their local area to a provider anywhere in the country.”


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