The regulator NHS Improvement has appointed four experts to help it with its work to improve nursing in the mental health sector.
A key part of this work will be on helping boost the integration of mental health with physical health, in line with government policy.
“I am delighted that our team at NHS Improvement has grown”
“We’ve expanded our nursing team to provide more intensive support to NHS mental health services across England,” said the body in a statement.
The regulator said the four appointments would help it as it worked with the NHS and other national health partners to “integrate mental and physical healthcare”.
They include Andy Brogan, a nurse who has been appointed associate national clinical director for mental health. He was previously executive director of mental health and deputy chief executive at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.
The appointments also include two psychiatrists. Dr David Fearnley, previously medical director at Mersey Care NHS Trust and Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has taken on the role of deputy national clinical director for mental health.
In addition, Dr Mike Hunter, formerly executive medical director at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, has become associate national clinical director for mental health.
“These appointments bring a wealth of experience on to the team”
The other new members of the directorate is Sarah Khan, who has been appointed head of delivery for mental health.
She helped develop the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health strategy while in her previous role at NHS England as deputy head of mental health and adult mental health programme lead
Their addition to the nursing directorate takes its number to around seven whole-time equivalents, a spokeswoman for NHS Improvement told Nursing Times.
Its existing members are executive nursing director Dr Ruth May, director of nursing for professional leadership Jacqueline McKenna and director of nursing for improvement Mark Radford.
The team also has access to expert advisors for learning disability, medicine and pharmaceutical services, older people’s mental health and dementia, patient safety, and urgent and emergency care.
The regulator said the team would be making sure mental health and physical services were brought “closer together”.
In addition, it said the team would be working closely with NHS England to “reduce the stigma” of mental health and inequalities in care, such as those experienced by ethnic minority communities, and to ensure that children and young people received mental health care “quickly and reliably”.
Dr May, who is also deputy chief nursing officer for England, said: “I am delighted that our team at NHS Improvement has grown, because we must play our part to support the delivery of compassionate, safe and effective care to people with mental health and learning disability needs.
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“Building on the work we are currently doing, I am sure our new team will help us better understand how we can support NHS services across England,” she said.
Meanwhile, Tim Kendall, national clinical director for mental health for both NHS Improvement and NHS England, said: “Ensuring people of all ages can receive the right mental health care within their own communities, as close to home as possible, is vital.
“We need to continue to support the NHS so it can provide mental health care wherever it is needed, whether in primary care, in accident and emergency, in acute hospitals, in schools or even within the NHS workforce itself,” he said.
“Work is now underway at NHS Improvement to look at how care for people with mental health needs are delivered as a whole and how we can support trusts – mental health, acute and community – across England to bring mental and physical health closer together,” he said.
“These appointments bring a wealth of experience on to the team, which I’m sure will help us start to achieve the ambitions we have set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health,” he added.