LABOUR WARNS OF Mental Health Postcode Lottery

 

o7212-0008072Patients in Stockport are bearing the brunt of an alarming postcode lottery in mental health services, new figures on NHS spending reveal.

Data obtained by Labour show Stockport CCG spent 8.36% of its budget on mental health services last year – less than the 10 per cent national average despite being ranked 26 in the country by need.

It is the first time the local Clinical Commissioning Group, formed last year, has disclosed levels of spending on mental health services and the figures demonstrate how the Government is failing to achieve parity between mental and physical healthcare.

Across England, the NHS spent an average of 10 per cent of the annual budget on mental health services in the year 2013/14, despite research that indicates it accounts for 23% of the burden of disease.

The spending varied between Surrey Health, which spent 6.5 per cent of its budget on mental health, to West London where it reached 18 per cent of the total budget – an 11 per cent range.

Stockport is ranked 26 in the country in terms of mental health need and 20% of the population is estimated to have a common mental health disorder. However it spends £29,277,000 on mental health – 8.36% of its overall budget.

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, said:

“These figures prove that mental health patients aren’t getting a fair deal from the Government.

“Too many patients in Stockport with mental health conditions aren’t getting the treatment they need.

“We call on the Government to take action now to correct this outrageous state of affairs.”

Luciana Berger, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Public Health, said:

“Mental health should be treated no differently to physical health. But vulnerable people face this alarming postcode lottery.

“People with mental illness shouldn’t have to expect different standards of care simply because of where they live.

“Mental health services are deteriorating under this Government. David Cameron has broken his promise to put mental and physical health on the same footing.”

A spokesperson for Rethink said:

“The Government has promised to treat mental health equally to physical health in the NHS but that’s nowhere near the reality on the ground.

“The level of support available to people with mental illness is massively inconsistent across the country. The Government and the NHS are responsible for ensuring that the right services are in place to meet the needs of communities, but the system is failing people with mental illness and this has to change. We would never accept this situation for people suffering from cancer or experiencing a heart attack, so why should people with severe mental illness have to put up with it? Psychosis can be a serious healthcare emergency just like a heart attack. Despite what the Government has promised, this data shows that mental health is still a second class service in the NHS.

“Now is not the time for any more fine words or lip service. We need the Government and the NHS to take real action. Failing to do so will put the wellbeing of millions of people at risk.”

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