Nick Clegg unveils new mental health proposals (updated)

Nick’s making two major speeches today – on mental health (to the Guardian Public Services summit) and on the economy (in the City of London).

The mental health speech has been released and you can read it in full over on the party website. The headline message from the speech is in the party’s news release:

In a key speech on health service reform, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg unveiled plans to guarantee everyone suffering from mental health problems a first appointment for treatment within 13 weeks of referral.

The plans were launched as the Party reveals new figures showing that the average time for those people waiting longest for mental health treatment is over seven months, with some people waiting over three years for treatment such as psychotherapy and counselling.

Psychotherapy has some of the longest waits in the country with one area recording waits for an assessment of more than three years. Meanwhile record numbers of anti-depressants are being prescribed, with the number of prescriptions to children having quadrupled in just one decade.

Some early coverage for the speech and proposals is already online on the BBC’s site here and here whilst the FT talks about the economy speech here.

UPDATE: The economy speech is also now up; it’s here.

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  • Great to see Nick talking about mental health – it’s an important signal to the other two leaders.

  • Not posting under my usual name…

    I’ve had counselling on the NHS for clinical depression, anxiety issues. I was a low suicide risk, simply by virtue of the fact that I approached the my GP asking for counselling, instead of having it recommended to me. I had to wait 6 months for an initial assessment to see whether they should offer me counselling, and I then had to wait another 2 years before I saw a counsellor, and I’m in an area that actually has a quite large mental health unit.

    I was then in counselling for 2 years (45 1-hour sessions per year), the maximum they could offer me. Luckily I’d made enough progress that stopping counselling would probably not ruin what had already been achieved, and I could try to apply what I’d achieved on my own. If I had problems… I’d have to go through the whole process (and the wait) again.

    Counselling and similar techniques take a fair amount of time, but they do achieve results. I spent over 5 years on anti-depressants. With counselling I finally managed to survive without them without turning into a quivering wreck.

    Getting mental health treatment on the NHS is not easy. Once you add in the stigma associated with mental illnesses (That’s why I’m not using my name) it can be a quite unpleasant experience all round.

    One in three women suffer from clinical depression in their lives, for men the figure is 1 in 10. Given how men are considerably more reluctant to get medical help, I suspect the true ratio for men is about the same, they just don’t get the help, which might also explain why the male suicide rate is higher than that of women.

    I’m glad people are starting to address this issue. It’s about time; people are quite literally dying because the NHS isn’t there for them.

  • Yasmin Zalzala 8th Feb '08 - 1:56pm

    I thought Nick was the master of the facts on the BBC Breakfast Show when they asked him about the details!

  • Yasmin Zalzala 9th Feb '08 - 11:34pm

    Sorry, what I meant to write was that

    Nick Clegg was NOT the master of the details!

    He fluffed the question and was weak when questioned about the alternatives!

    He reminded me of Kennedy and the Poll Tax question

  • What’s wrong with the good old system? If you do not agree with the government policies, ‘Book Hum’ under the mental health problems. It worked in USSR.

  • Senior Citizen Deepak 10th Feb '08 - 4:40pm

    Taken from:
    Seven per cent of doctors are mad: Official
    British doctors are almost unanimous in not trusting the government to adequately secure patients’ medical records.
    A survey from the British Medical Association found that 93 per cent of doctors are “not confident patient data on the proposed NHS centralised database would be secure”. Which makes you wonder which newspapers the other seven per cent of doctors read.
    Eight out of ten doctors would not want their own medical records on the system, and nine out of ten did not feel they could assure their patients that their data would be safe.
    Some doctors are already taking action by opting out themselves and encouraging their patients to do the same., backed by No2ID, is providing information for GP surgeries keen to take a stand.
    Today’s example of government data security failure comes from GP’s magazine Pulse which used Freedom of Information requests to find out how many NHS smartcards, used to access patient records, have gone missing. Some 4,147 cards have been lost or stolen out of a total of 438,314 issued. Eventually 1.2m cards will be issued.
    Mike Small, EMEA director of security management strategy for CA, told the Reg: “If the government followed the same security guidelines which it requires its suppliers to follow we wouldn’t have these problems – it’s about management and execution not legislation.

  • mark francis 3rd Feb '11 - 11:13am

    In Haringey a mental health day centre and a crisis unit are closing. How’s that then?

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