Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Mental health services must have equal footing with physical health services, prime minister says

  • 1 Comment

One of the priorities for the NHS in the future must be “true parity of care between mental and physical health” Prime Minister Theresa May said in her speech on the future of the NHS delivered at the Royal Free Hospital on Monday

She said the long‐term plan for the health service must address the issue of mental health and said this was a “personal priority” for her.

“For too long we have accepted that if you have a mental illness too often you will not receive the same access to care as if you have a physical ailment. And that must change,” she said.

“The long‐term plan must contain proposals for mental health that are even more innovative and ambitious”

Theresa May

“This means that rather than just trying to catch up with the rest of the NHS, the long‐term plan must contain proposals for mental health that are even more innovative and more ambitious,” she said.

“This could include attracting more of the best graduates into the mental health professions; or finding new ways to provide joined‐up care in the community, or helping people to manage their conditions so they do not reach a crisis point.

“It must be supported by sustained investment that reaches the frontline of mental health services and staff.”

However, she also stressed that efforts to improve support went beyond the NHS into schools, the criminal justice system, and workplaces.

Work already under way to reduce stigma and discrimination had led to a rise in demand for help and NHS mental health services were “struggling to cope”, she added.

“Too often we hear that, in spite of the best efforts of staff, people are unable to access the support they need. So we must improve,” she said.

The Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said that dramatically increased investment in mental health services will be needed to provide a mental health service that has parity with the service for physical health.

“The mental health sector must be given a bigger proportion of the NHS budget”

Sean Duggan, chief executive, Mental Health Network

Research commissioned by the NHS Confederation found that current mental health spending would likely need to double to meet the standard of a modernised service where the number of people with mental health problems receiving NHS treatment reaches 70%. It is currently 40%.

“While the mental health sector has been a beneficiary of one‐off funding increases for the NHS over the past five years, acute trusts have seen bigger benefits with their incomes growing nearly three times as fast as mental health trusts,” Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, said.

“To have true parity of esteem, the mental health sector must be given a bigger proportion of the NHS budget and we hope this will be realised in the details of the funding settlement.”

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Since Cameron was elected in 2010 the politicians have repeatedly said that MH sector was going to be improved and invested in. However all I have seen since then is cuts and reductions in services which were already being run on limited resources. Lack of money has lead to patients ending up in crisis, lack of beds resulting in admissions not being possible when needed or patients shipped over 50 miles away for the nearest bed...... As much as I would love to believe there will be improvements in my head I think it is unlikely to happen.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.