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Mental Health Services

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 167227, tabled on 23 July 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of recent trends in the number of dedicated mental health specialists.

Answered on

4 September 2018

There is no definition for a ‘dedicated mental health specialist’.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), but not staff working in primary care or in general practitioner surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The following table shows the full time equivalent (FTE) figures for the mental health and learning disability workforce in National Health Service trusts and CCGs in England as at 31 March each year, since 2014. There is an increase of over 2,900 in mental health staff between March 2014 and March 2018 in the whole mental health and learning disability workforce.






Size of mental health and learning disability workforce (FTE)






Source: NHS Digital monthly HCHS workforce Statistics

Following the re-organisation of primary care trusts (PCTs) in 2013, it is not possible to compare figures for mental health and learning disability trusts either side of this reorganisation because it is not possible to separately identify all staff in PCTs providing this service.

Health Education England (HEE) published a Mental Health Workforce plan in July 2017. The plan sets out concrete steps for delivering 21,000 new posts across the mental health system and implementation is underway.

HEE is working with the Royal College of Psychiatrists to encourage more doctors to choose a career in mental health. The Royal College launched the ‘Choose Psychiatry’ campaign in 2017, encouraging doctors to take up psychiatry for their speciality training.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care