Policy paper

Mental health services: achieving better access by 2020

This publication was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Sets out national waiting time standards from April 2015 and plans to provide better access to mental health services over the next 5 years.



This report shows what action the government is taking to provide better access to care in mental health services within the next year, including national waiting time standards for the first time. It also sets out its vision for further progress by 2020.

The waiting time standards for mental health that come into effect from 1 April 2015 are:

  • treatment within 6 weeks for 75% of people referred to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, with 95% of people being treated within 18 weeks
  • treatment within 2 weeks for more than 50% of people experiencing a first episode of psychosis

Targeted investment will also help people in crisis to get effective support in more acute hospitals.

This plan will start to ensure that mental and physical health services are given equal priority by 2020.