• NHS Improvement appoints five new members to mental health and learning disability team
  • They will be part of the regulator’s nursing and medical directorates
  • The appointments are part of plans for the regulator to help trusts integrate mental and physical health care

NHS Improvement has recruited five new members to its mental health team.

The national regulator has appointed the new staff to its nursing and medical directorates as part of plans to support delivery of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

The new roles are in the regulator’s mental health and learning disability team, which has been bolstered with new expert mental health lead roles for medicines and pharmaceutical services, patient safety and urgent and emergency care.

The appointments are:

  • David Fearnley, deputy national clinical director for mental health;
  • Mike Hunter, associate national clinical director for mental health;
  • Andy Brogan, associate national clinical director for mental health;
  • Professor Alistair Burns, national clinical director for dementia and older people’s mental health; and
  • Sarah Khan, head of delivery for mental health at NHSI.

NHSI said part of their role will be helping the NHS and its partners integrate physical and mental health care.

They will also work closely with NHS England to reduce stigma and inequalities in care, as well as making sure children and young people have access to mental health services.

The new appointments will work with Professor Tim Kendall, national clinical director for mental health at NHS Improvement and NHS England.

Professor Kendall took up the new joint position in February. He has held the role at NHS England since April 2016.

He said the expanded team will support trusts to provide mental health care wherever patients need it – including in primary care settings and acute hospitals.

Professor Kendall said: “Work is now underway at NHS Improvement to look at how care for people with mental health needs is delivered as a whole and how we can support trusts – mental health, acute and community – across England to bring mental and physical health closer together.

“These appointments bring a wealth of experience on to the team, which I’m sure will help us start to achieve the ambitions we have set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.”