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NHS mental health discrimination described as 'shocking'

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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NHS managers in England and Wales have been accused of ‘shocking discrimination’ in the provision of mental health services.

A report commissioned by the Mental Health Group of the London School of Economics found that 75% of the estimated 6 million patients in England and Wales with depression or anxiety received no treatment at all from the National Health Service. 

The report blames the failure on NHS managers who have not properly commissioned the services recommended in official guidance on the matter.  They added further that £400 million budgeted by the Government for psychological therapy was not always used for its intended purpose because there is no obligation on NHS managers to do so.  The report strongly recommends expansion of mental health services as the first step in tackling this key debate within the NHS.

Lord Layard of the Mental Health Group has commented that improvements within mental health services are vital as “mental health is crucial to the health of individuals and to society as a whole, and as such, mental health problems should be treated as seriously as physical problems.”  Lord Layard believes more can be done to improve the services available to those with mental health problems and that change in the right direction will achieve ‘remarkable results.’

The report of the Mental Health Group is soon to be presented to the NHS, ministers, voluntary organisations and councils in the hope that the commissioning of mental health services within the NHS can be greatly improved with the ultimate goal of helping those who are at the most vulnerable point in their lives to regain control.

By clinical negligence expert, Paul Burrows