Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has attacked the Conservatives record on mental health spending, calling the government’s plan for ‘parity of esteem’ for mental health with physical health ‘parity of failure’.
In an exchange during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions, Corbyn noted how 40% of mental health trusts had had their budgets cut in the past year, and the 6 trusts had experienced cuts for three consecutive years.
Corbyn told the prime minister that 40% of mental health trusts had had their budgets cut last year and that six trusts had had this for three years in a row.
The Labour leader was referencing data from The King’s Fund, released last weekend, which analysed accounts from all 58 mental health trusts in England. It found that, despite NHS England giving assurances that almost 90% of plans submitted by clinical commissioning groups last year included mental health funding increases, this often was not making it through to the frontline.
“I started by asking you about parity of esteem - all this government has produced is parity of failure,” Corbyn said.
“Failing mental health patients, failing elderly people who need social care, failing the four million on the NHS waiting list, failing five times as many people waiting more than four hours at A&E departments, and another winter crisis is looming.”
In response, May said the government was putting £7.4 billion into mental health services.
However, the pressure on services was noted by Aliya Vigor-Robertson, co-founder of JourneyHR, who said: “A lack of resource and general understanding about how to recognise and manage mental health challenges is causing serious strain on public services such as the NHS, prisons and the police force.
“It is time that businesses consider how they can do more to raise awareness of mental health and tackle the stigma attached to it. Employers are in a unique position in that they enjoy direct face to face contact with their employees on a regular basis and therefore have an opportunity to educate their staff. Managers need to be trained to recognise early signs of poor mental health, prevent work related stress and encourage good mental health. If companies can do more to support mental health issues in the workplace, the wider impact amongst the public could be extremely positive.”