Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has announced that treatment for mental health conditions will be brought into line with other NHS services with the introduction of the first ever waiting time standards.
For the first time, from April 2015, most patients needing talking therapies – for conditions like depression – will be guaranteed the treatment they need in as little as six weeks, with a maximum wait of 18 weeks, Signalling the end to physical health being seen to be more important than mental health.
Nick Clegg said: “Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, bi-polar disorder – these and many other mental health conditions are one of the last remaining taboos in our society, and yet they will affect one in four people. Labour introduced waiting times in physical health – we will do the same for the many people struggling with conditions that you often can’t see, that we often don’t talk about, but which are just as serious”.
Earlier this year, Liberal Democrats on Gloucestershire County Council secured an extra £450,000 for Young People’s Mental Health.
Liberal Democrat councillor Iain Dobie (Leckhampton and Warden Hill) said: “Locally, I am pleased that the £450,000 that our group negotiated is being put to good use on a number of projects in the county with the sole purpose of improving young people’s emotional health & well-being. A proportion of the funding has also gone towards a conference on deliberate self-harm in young people that is planned to take place on Tuesday 14th October”.
“Nick Clegg, however, rightly pointed out in his speech last week that in spite of the progress that has been made in the area of mental health there is still a long, long way to go. I am therefore delighted that the Liberal Democrats in Government are laying the groundwork for a new parity between physical and mental health and that from next year, for the first time ever; there will be national waiting times for patients with mental health conditions just as there are for patients with physical health conditions.”