September 29, 2016

May must deliver on mental illness pledge

May must deliver on mental illness pledge

Professor Simon Wessely says the Prime Minister must match her stirring rhetoric around mental health provision with the investment required to deliver the services patients need.    

Theresa May put the plight of those with mental illness who don’t have proper access to care, at the heart of her vision for government.

But we have yet to see what that means in policy and practice.  Rumour has it that she will use her party conference next week to respond to the recommendations of the Taskforce on Mental Health which called for a range of measures to ensure that people with mental illness do get the high quality services that they need. Much has already been promised including a commitment to spend an extra £1 billion a year on mental health care by 2020.  Work is already underway at the Royal College of Psychiatrists to support NHS England with the implementation of the targets for access and waiting times including the treatment of psychosis, and for those who need talking therapies.

But as I write, there is a danger that these hopes and the progress made so far, could be swept away by the pressures on funding in the NHS which are building like a wall of water on the horizon.

The signs of trouble are everywhere.  In her annual investigation of how much clinical commissioning groups are spending on mental health services in their areas, the former shadow minister for mental health, Luciana Berger found that at least 73 communities will see their GP mental health budgets slashed this year.

The situation was summed up by the Public Accounts Committee in their recent report which says that the “laudable ambition” to bring about parity of esteem between the treatment of mental and physical health is under threat because of pressures elsewhere in the NHS.

We believe passionately that health services should reflect the individual needs of communities and recognise the important role that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have to play in that.  The Royal College of Psychiatrists is supporting the development of tools to enable people to see how their commissioners are performing. But more is needed.  One of the Taskforce’s recommendations was to require CCGs to report on investment in mental health and to increase investment in mental health services each year at a level which at least matches their overall allocation increase. There is no doubt, we need to increase the pressure and scrutiny on CCGs.

If you have a heart attack – no matter where you are in the country, you can count on a well-equipped ambulance with highly trained staff to come to your aid. But if you have a mental health crisis you may have to wait up to 72 hours in a police cell for an initial assessment.  The independent commission on acute care, supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, found that each month 500 mentally ill people have to travel more than 50 miles from their homes to get a hospital bed.

Good mental health is not an optional extra.  Severe mental illness can be as debilitating and as deadly as cancer or stroke and deserves equal treatment from the health service.  Theresa May is of the generation who witnessed Margaret Thatcher, on her first day in office, quoting St Francis, “where there is discord, may we bring harmony… where there is despair, may we bring hope”.  And how the clip was replayed in the following years, juxtaposed by images of riots and miners on the picket line.  Although the former Prime Minster spoke in earnest, perhaps she had succumbed to the temptation to over-promise.  The current Prime Minister is famed for her pragmatism and ability to deliver.  So I absolutely believe not only that she spoke in good faith on the need for better access to mental health services.  But more importantly, that it cannot have been an implicit pledge made without a matching determination to do whatever is necessary to make the investment and bring about the change to ensure mentally ill people do have access to the care that they need in the coming years.

4.50 avg. rating (89% score) - 6 votes
Professor Simon Wessely
Simon Wessely was elected President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2014. In addition to his role with the Royal College, he has been a consultant liaison psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital since 1991 where he is now Chair of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences (IoPPN).
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. and

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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