NHS reforms must not threaten continuity and quality of mental health services
Posted Tuesday 18 January 2011
Today Mind responds to the Health Select Committee’s report on NHS commissioning. The charity gave evidence to the committee last year, representing the views of the one in four people who will be affected by mental health problems.
Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
It is vital that any changes to NHS commissioning do not jeopardise the continuity and quality of care received by people with mental health problems. There is a real risk that valuable mental health knowledge and skills could be lost in the transition process and that some mental health services will be vulnerable to closure or disruption. We know from past experience that mental health services often bear the brunt of health budget cuts and we can not allow history to repeat itself.
GPs have limited specialist knowledge on mental health and we’re worried that this lack of understanding will affect commissioning choices. Stigma and discrimination are still major problems for mental health and it does not enjoy the same level of public sympathy as other health issues. GPs have already expressed concern that they will be faced with doorstep lobbying to commission services that have the most vocal and widespread support and this could mean that mental health loses out in the battle for resources.
However, NHS reform also presents opportunities for improvements to mental health services. GP commissioning will offer a chance to develop more personalised local services, specific to the needs of a community and replacing the sometimes ‘one size fits all’ approach. It also presents an opportunity for consultation with the third sector to provide expertise, specialist services and increased engagement with marginalised groups.
For more information, interviews or case studies please contact the Mind media team.
T: 020 8522 1743
m: 07850 788514
ISDN line available: 020 8221 0817