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In a letter to the Times today, nine former health secretaries (every health secretary from the past 20 years) have expressed their alarm and dismay that little has changed since the promise last year to ensure the NHS treated mental health as equally important to physical health.
The letter, arranged by the Liberal Democrat former health minister Norman Lamb, comes one year after the formation of the Equality for Mental Health campaign which urges the Government to do more to tackle the injustices faced by people with mental health problems by adequately increasing investment in the provision of mental health services.
Paul Farmer CBE, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“A year on, we applaud the commitment and overwhelming support given to the Equality for Mental Health campaign and the significant support from so many former Health Secretaries."
"Many of the issues highlighted are still as prevalent as ever. Inadequate crisis care, severely unwell people being held in police cells, long waiting times and a lack of access to specialised mental health care to name but a few."
"We need to see the commitments made by the Government and the NHS as part of the Mental Health Five Year Forward View implemented at a local level so that frontline services can give people the help they need, when they need it. The next 12 months are going to be critical for that delivery to be achieved."
"We congratulate Norman Lamb, Alastair Campbell and Andrew Mitchell on their continued championing of mental health. The first steps are starting to be taken, but there is a long way to go before people get the help they so desperately need.”