Having undertaken a detailed economic analysis of the sector’s finances, EY concluded that, without intervention from NHS England, many pharmacies will be unable to survive – limiting access to health services in many areas including remote rural communities (Photo: iStock).

NHS England has rolled out a network of new services across the country to transform urgent and emergency mental care.

People in need of urgent mental health support will be able to use 24-hour support from a strengthened mental health crisis teams by next year, which will benefit from an over £200 national funding. New alternative forms of provision such as safe havens and crisis cafes will also be opened across the country as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Currently, just under half of NHS mental health crisis teams operate on a 24/7 basis but under new the plans, every single one will offer round-the-clock support.

Pharmacists are part of the teams along with mental health professionals, nurses, social workers and support workers. The teams administer medication or provide practical support to people.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive said: “The NHS is delivering on its pledge to improve mental health support, with every local health service now signed up to providing a round-the-clock community mental health crisis service by 2021. This means people will be able to self-refer in the same way they can for urgent physical health care. And it will also help relieve pressure on other emergency services including A&Es, the police and ambulances.”

Friends, families and other professionals who may be supporting people experiencing a mental health crisis will also be able to access the support team round the clock.

Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for the NHS said: “Specialist NHS mental health crisis teams working with the voluntary sector on alternative forms of provision such as crisis cafes and safe havens, can often be a better way of meeting needs of people experiencing a mental health crisis than A&E or an inpatient psychiatric admission. Rolling these services out in every part of the country will help to address some of the most pressing inequalities in access to urgent care that people with mental health needs have experienced.

“This investment in life changing services will also pave the way for the flagship long-term plan ambition to make NHS 111 the single universal point of access for urgent mental health care by 2024.”

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