Review of mental health nurses announced

The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) has announced plans for a new framework for mental health nursing.

CNO Chris Beasley said that the review of mental health nursing would look at a number of issues, including race equality, health promotion, child protection and the development of non-medical prescribing.

The review follows a number of other major health reforms announced by the government, including the draft Mental Health Bill and the 'Choosing Health' and 'Delivering Race Quality' proposals. Ms Beasley said as the largest professional group in mental health services – with nearly 45,000 qualified nurses working in the NHS in England and an additional 30,000 support staff – mental health nurses played an important role in delivering these reforms.

She said: "Mental Health nurses play a vital role in the NHS. It's extremely important that the profession is supported and has a clear direction and sense of its future role. This is why we are working closely with mental health staff and service users to develop a new strategic framework for the profession as it moves into a new era of mental health care."

Ms Beasley added: "The context in which mental health nurses work has changed in recent years as a result of government reforms, lessons from serious incidents and the new professional roles that have grown across the health and social care system. The time is right to take stock of what these mean for the profession and to provide mental health nurses with a new direction and clear future role in order to deliver government reforms, such as the Mental Health Bill, personalised care and choice."

Professor Louis Appleby, National Director of Mental Health, described mental health nursing as "an essential component in our plans to continue to improve mental health services." He said: "The CNO review will provide an excellent opportunity to look at how nursing can best contribute in the context of changing roles and developing priorities. I am very keen that mental health nurses are able to make the most of any opportunities available to develop their roles and improve outcomes for service users."

The review is due to report at the end of the year, following a consultation, which will include open forums, meetings with key organisations and the publication of a consultation document asking views about key issues.


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