Mind's Manifesto launched at annual conference
Posted Tuesday 15 March 2005
Mental health policies that work
Stepping up to excellence: 15 to 17 March 2005
Mind launches its Manifesto at the leading event in the UK mental health calendar, Mind's annual conference, opening Tuesday 15 March in Harrogate. Keeping up the pressure regarding the controversial Mental Health Bill, Mind calls on the next Government to deliver badly-needed effective solutions to mental health issues in the UK today. Ministers Rosie Winterton and Tim Loughton are sure to respond with contentious points of discussion in their addresses.
Mind's Manifesto, produced as the Government's draft Mental Health Bill still fails to effectively address mental health issues, is published to precede the Joint Committee's latest response, due end of March. It calls for better funding - mental health spending has increased at less than 50 per cent of the overall NHS increase. With only 20 per cent of people with mental health problems in work, a workable benefits system is desperately needed, which the Government's recent changes to Incapacity Benefit have failed to address.
The Manifesto also demands amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act in order to give proper protection to people with mental health problems; primary care improvements - 1 in 4 people report waiting for over 18 months after their initial register of mental health problems, and 24 hour crisis access to prevent problems developing and leading to compulsory treatment. Mind highlighted major drawbacks in the UK's regulation of medicines last year, which led to reforms announced by Lord Warner in November that have not gone far enough - Mind urges the next Government to introduce a system that prioritises consumer safety.
Key Manifesto points:
- Make mental health a top health priority.
- Combat the social exclusion and stigma faced by people with mental health problems.
- Ensure people with mental health problems receive the help they need at the earliest opportunity.
- Ensure full and easy access to crisis care and produce new mental health legislation that respects the dignity and human rights of individuals.
- Protect consumers through more stringent regulation of prescription drugs.
The conference theme Stepping up to excellence celebrates best mental health practice in England and Wales, focusing on some of the excellent services existing in spite of lack of Government initiatives, many run by independent local Mind associations. Some 900 delegates, including service users, Local Mind Associations and mental health professionals, come together to debate on the cutting edge issues facing mental health today.
Sessions include a look at service users' rights and how the NHS and systems are failing them.
Richard Brook, Chief Executive of Mind says today:
"We release our Manifesto at this pivotal time for mental health as we approach the end of the second term of the Government - heavy on rhetoric, quick to take credit for a system that has been improved in areas, but is still under prioritised and severely creaking in places, if not sinking. Our Manifesto challenges the next Government to deliver on behalf of the 1 in 4 people in this country who experience mental health problems - the promises remain unfulfilled, the problems remain unsolved."