Liberal Democrats in Government putting mental health on the same legal footing in the NHS as physical health


Last week saw the publication of the policy paper entitled ‘mental health services: achieving better access by 2020’, which sets out national waiting time standards from April 2015 and plans to provide better access to mental health services over the next five years.

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The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg in his Liberal Democrat Conference speech thanked Paul Burstow MP and Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support for their tireless work in the area of mental health.

Signalling the end to physical health being seen to be more important than mental health, Nick Clegg said: “Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, bi-polar disorder – these and many other mental health conditions are one of the last remaining taboos in our society, and yet they will affect one in four people... Labour introduced waiting times in physical health – we [Lib Dems] will do the same for the many people struggling with conditions that you often can’t see, that we often don’t talk about, but which are just as serious”.

Earlier this year, the Liberal Democrats in Gloucestershire secured an extra £450,000 for Young People’s Mental Health.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities Cllr. Iain Dobie (LD: Leckhampton and Warden Hill) said: “Locally, I am pleased that the £450,000 that our group negotiated back in February is being put to good use on a number of projects in the county with the sole purpose of improving young people’s emotional health & wellbeing. A proportion of the funding has also gone towards a conference on deliberate self-harm in young people that is planned to take place on Tuesday 14th October”.  

“I am also encouraged to see that nationally important steps have already been taken to improve mental health services for all, including the rapid expansion of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, the introduction of the robust and independent inspection regime for mental health and the publication of the mental health Crisis Care Concordat.

“Nick Clegg, however, rightly pointed out in his speech last week that in spite of the progress that has been made in the area of mental health there is still a long, long way to go. I am therefore delighted that the Liberal Democrats in Government are laying the groundwork for a new parity between physical and mental health and that from next year, for the first time ever, there will be national waiting times for patients with mental health conditions just as there are for patients with physical health conditions”.


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