BMA annual conference calls for more action to tackle ‘hidden’ pandemic of mental health illness

Press release from the BMA. 

Location: England
Published: Wednesday 29 June 2022
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Speaking at the BMA annual represenative body conference in Brighton today, on a motion voicing concern that the ‘hidden’ pandemic of mental illness will overwhelm mental health and primary care services for years to come, BMA mental health policy lead Dr Andrew Molodynski said:

“The BMA has been warning for years of the dire mental health crisis here in the UK. With the impact of the pandemic, there are real concerns that services will struggle to cope even more and that people’s mental health will worsen as a result.  

“A significant backlog of care has meant that many are still struggling to get the timely care they need, and for some people their conditions have worsened during this time and therefore require more complex care.  

“We need to see the Government take immediate action to properly fund and equip mental health services to effectively deal with the huge demand placed on them. It is also crucial that we invest in preventative measures to ensure that, where possible, people’s mental health and wellbeing can be supported of before it gets to a stage where they may require clinical intervention.  

"The BMA has called for the Government in England to double their long-term plan funding pledge1 to invest £4.6bn per year by 2024/25. Investment must be underpinned by  proper evaluation to understand and monitor the scale of the issue so we can effectively respond to the mental health needs of the population now and in the future.” 

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives. 

  1. BMA Spending Review 2020.
  1. The full wording of the motion is as below: 

For media enquiries please email [email protected] or call 02073836448. 

That this meeting is concerned that the ‘hidden’ pandemic of mental illness will overwhelm mental health and primary care services for years to come. We urge the BMA to lobby NHS organisations to:-

i) immediately accept that services are not able to cope with demand and offer NICE guidance based mental health care to many who need it;

ii) urgently commission and commence independent work to identify the scale of this problem;

iii) develop coherent and whole system approaches, with resources, to reduce the number of people unable to access evidence based care and implement these changes;

iv) commit to regular independent monitoring of progress.