The national policy reforms for mental health services and the story of early intervention services in the United Kingdom

The national policy reforms for mental health services and the story of early intervention services in the United Kingdom

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J Psychiatry Neurosci 2006;30(5):362-365

Renju Joseph, MB BS, MRCPsych; Max Birchwood, DSc

Birmingham Early Intervention Service, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Abstract

In this review, we summarize and review reforms to the mental health service in the United Kingdom from 1999 to the present. Our analysis is based on government documents describing the reforms and providing guidelines for their implementation. In addition, we summarize prospective studies of psychosis from the first episode and early treatment studies on the basis of existing systematic reviews. The UK mental health reforms have attracted major government funding and have been used to commission specialized (“functional”) community teams for people with severe mental illness. The reforms include changes to services for first-episode psychosis, which have attracted considerable consumer support. The UK service reforms are continuing, with the aim of providing services fit for the 21st century.

Résumé

Dans cette critique, nous résumons et passons en revue les réformes apportées au service de santé mentale du Royaume-Uni de 1999 à aujourd’hui. Notre analyse reposait sur des documents du gouvernement qui décrivent les réformes et présentent des directives sur leur mise en oeuvre. Nous résumons en outre des études prospectives de psychoses depuis le premier épisode, et des études en début de traitement fondées sur des critiques systématiques existantes. Les réformes de la santé mentale au R.-U. ont attiré un financement important de l’État et ont permis de doter des équipes communautaires spécialisées («fonctionnelles») pour les personnes atteintes d’une maladie mentale grave. Les réformes comprennent des modifications des services offerts dans le cas d’un premier épisode de psychose, ce qui attire énormément d’appui des consommateurs. Les réformes des services au R.-U. se poursuivent et visent à offrir des services adaptés au XXIe siècle.


Medical subject headings: mental health services; health care reform; Great Britain; national health programs; schizophrenia.

Submitted Jan. 27, 2005; Revised June 16, 2005; Accepted June 20, 2005

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: Both authors contributed substantially to drafting and revising the article, and each gave final approval for the article to be published.

Correspondence to: Dr. Max Birchwood, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom; fax 0121 685-6049; m.j.birchwood.20@bham.ac.uk