LDVideo: Norman Lamb says he’s on a mission for better mental health care

Norman LambNorman Lamb has given an interview to the BBC about mental health provision after a joint BBC/Community Care magazine investigation found that 1700 mental health beds had been lost in recent years. To his credit, there was no spin from him, no excuses. He simply acknowledged that the current situation wasn’t good enough, explained what he’s already done in terms of better community care and changing the NHS Mandate to give mental health parity with physical health and finally said what he was hoping to achieve in the future.

He said:

I know that there are problems and I’m absolutely determined that we address them. We owe it to people who have mental health problems that we provide them with the best possible care that’s available to them. There are some great examples of care around the country but there are too many failures. It’s because there is institutional bias against mental health which has to end…

…It is absolutely the poor relation in the NHS and as a Liberal Democrat Minister in this coalition government I’m on a mission to change that. It has to end. We have to ensure that there is complete equity between mental health and physical health.

You can watch the whole interview here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Eddie Sammon 16th Oct '13 - 5:37pm

    This is good news and Norman looks like he is treating it with the seriousness that it deserves. Personally I would like to see the name of bi-polar 1 and 2 changed because they are effectively different illnesses.

  • Helen Dudden 16th Oct '13 - 7:41pm

    I think that there should be more understanding, to children with eating disorders.

    I have come across a this issue working to bring some understanding to children who have been abducted, under the Hague Convention and Brussels 11. Self harming is another situation.

    It is an awful shame, that your Party has no input into the All Party on the subject. Of course, not a pleasant subject.

  • My understanding would be that contrary to what Norman Lamb says the 18 week rules does apply to mental health services where the services is led by a medical consultant , or where the referrer makes there intention to refer to a medical consultant e.g. a consultant psychiatrist, known.

    It would be helpful to know if this position has changed?

    See extract from the 18 weeks rules suite below

    “A consultant-led waiting time clock only starts on referral to a referral management and assessment service where that service may onward-refer the patient to a surgical or medical consultant-led service before responsibility is transferred back to the referring health professional.

    If one of the intended outcomes of the service is that some patients will require such onward referral to a consultant-led service, then a consultant-led waiting time clock should start for all patients referred to the service.

    Therefore, much mental-health activity will be outside the scope of consultant led
    waiting times. However, consultant-led waiting times do apply where a referral is made to a medical consultant-led mental health service, regardless of setting. It also applies where a GP (or other referrer) makes their intention to refer to a medical consultant (eg a consultant psychiatrist) known, even though they may refer through a mental health interface service.

    Decisions about which services are medical consultant-led are ones that must be made locally, in line with the national definition of consultant-led. i.e. where a consultant retains overall clinical responsibility for the service, team or treatment.”

  • Well, yes, that’s all very well but what Norman Lamb appears not to realise is that mental health services are collapsing, there’s been a huge increase in the number of people becoming unwell along with suicides and as a Minister for Health with a responsibility for mental health, he is part of the problem, he is responsible and not a mere spectator. What he’s doing isn’t nearly enough and he doesn’t explain why he isn’t doing more.

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