Responding to today’s publication of the final report from the Mental Health Taskforce, Independent Mental Health Services Alliance (IMHSA) Chair Joy Chamberlain said:

“The taskforce’s report sets out a number of welcome, and crucial, recommendations to drive improvements in the provision of mental health services. If these recommendations are implemented we believe they will provide a critical basis for improving patient outcomes and access to timely, quality mental healthcare. IMHSA particularly welcomes the government’s commitment to invest an extra £1 billion in mental healthcare by 2021, as recommended by the taskforce.

“IMHSA also especially welcomes the taskforce’s comments on the need to eliminate out of area placements, tackle waiting times and develop a more integrated system of care and support. These are all areas IMHSA recommended action on in our recent report, “Breaking Down Barriers: Improving patient access and outcomes in mental healthcare”.

“The independent sector plays an important role in the mental health sector and IMHSA’s members are willing partners for the NHS both nationally and locally to improve patient access to services. Unlike the Crisp Commission’s recent report, the taskforce has not recognised the valuable role the independent sector can play here, and we hope that this will be given appropriate consideration as these recommendations are taken forward.  

“It is positive that the taskforce highlights the commissioning system barriers that are restricting patient access to care. IMHSA has previously highlighted the fragmented nature of mental health commissioning and the damage this can do to patients. We therefore welcome the taskforce’s recommendations on developing a comprehensive set of care pathways and trialing new models of care through a vanguard programme for mental health.

“In addition, IMHSA has also campaigned for some time on the need for improved payment systems for mental health, in particular the removal of unaccountable block contracts. We are pleased the taskforce has echoed these calls.”

“While we welcome the taskforce’s report and recommendations, IMHSA believes there are other issues that also need focus, such as the moratorium on commissioning new specialised services which is preventing service development in areas where it is needed. This restricts patient choice, limits innovation and ultimately contributes to poor patient outcomes, including delayed discharges.

“IMHSA hopes that the government and NHS England will take forward these recommendations and we look forward to working in partnership with them to bring about the service improvements patients need and deserve.”



Notes to Editors:

  1. For more information, please contact Rebecca Brake at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 0203 102 3621.


  1. IMHSA is a group of leading independent mental health service providers. IMHSA believes services for people with mental health needs must be high quality, deliver excellent health and care outcomes and enhance the patient experience. We aim to provide improved access and outcomes for people with mental health needs, in a system where they can access quality care and support in a timely manner.


  1. IMHSA’s report Breaking Down Barriers: Improving patient access and outcomes in mental healthcare was published in November 2015. It sets out eight recommendations for improving the mental health system to deliver better patient outcomes and access to care.