England: Integration of mental health and supported housing could save NHS £1bn a year


A ground-breaking report which shows that the NHS could save nearly £1 billion a year through integrated mental health and supported housing services in England has received the backing of parliamentarians.

The report, commissioned by housing and support services provider Look Ahead, outlines that if integrated mental health and supported housing systems currently used in parts of London and the South East were implemented across the rest of the country, approximately £950 million could be saved to the NHS.

The report has received the backing of both Conservative MP and member of the health and social care committee, Paul Bristow, and Liberal Democrat Lords spokesperson for mental health, Baroness Claire Tyler.

On the report launch, Paul Bristow MP said: “Reform of social care cannot be kicked further down the road. As we emerge from the pandemic, the need for mental health services will grow and the coming months offer an opportunity for reform every bit as profound as the creation of the NHS in 1948.

“Building on the proposals in this report, the government must put in place reforms which can command support across the political spectrum, ensuring they stand the test of time.”

The report comes just weeks after the government released a new white paper, Integration and innovation: Working together to improve health and social care for all, which intends to bring health and care services closer together and build a system that is ‘fit for the future’.

Baroness Claire Tyler said: “Most people think of the elderly when it comes to care – as indeed has been the case in my own family – but many other younger people and their families are affected too including those with learning difficulties, mental health problems and the homeless.

“We urgently need a national strategy for social care and long-term funding which works for everyone.”

The report, written by economics consultancy Europe Economics, found that the integrated mental health and supported housing models used by 167 individuals supported by Look Ahead Care and Support produced £5m a year in cashable savings and non-cash releasing efficiencies compared to hospital-based mental health care.

These models include the integration of Crisis and Recovery Houses (short-term community-based alternative to in-patient psychiatric treatment); Rehabilitation services (accommodation-based services providing medium or short-term support to develop mental health stability and daily living skills); and Forensic step-down for people to step-down safely from secure in-patient settings into the community.

A recent analysis by The King’s Fund found that in 2018/19, total expenditure on social care by councils was £22.2bn. In October 2020, the health and social care select committee, published a report urging the government to spend at least £7bn more on social care by 2023-24.

The report is being launched at a virtual panel event today at 12:15pm GMT with Paul Bristow MP, Baroness Claire Tyler and Look Ahead chief executive Chris Hampson.

Mr Hampson said: “It is already widely acknowledged in government policy that integrated services lead to improved physical and mental health outcomes for individuals.

“We are pleased to launch this report today which we believe provides the missing piece of the jigsaw that is the financial case for scaling up these models in mental health services. We need to use this evidence to make the case for the integrated approach and scale it up. It makes sense not just for the public purse but for the quality of life of people accessing these services.

“The government’s recent white paper is a step closer to more integrated services. But whilst the pandemic has shone a vital light on the importance of social care workers, we must ensure that wider reform focuses on all aspects of social care, and not just care homes and care for older people.”


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