Nicholas Carding of the Eastern Daily Press reports on our meeting with Luciana Berger, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health and Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South:
A senior politician today said parity of esteem is still not occuring within the NHS.
Ms Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, met with members of Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk in Norwich today with Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
Numerous themes were discussed during the meeting, including staff shortages, the rise locally in unexpected deaths, a lack of inpatient beds, little available tailored help for people with Asberger Syndrome, and a reliance on the private sector.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is in special measures, and an inquiry is currently ongoing into a big rise of unexpected deaths.
Ms Berger said the stories told by the campaigners was evidence that parity of esteem (equal funding for mental health compared to physical health) is a long way off.
“I was struck by stories of how the extreme cuts made by the local trust has impacted on patients and families,” she said.
“We want mental health put on an equal footing and integrate the care.
“We would rather treat the whole person than one symptom.
“Last year the funding for mental health trusts was cut by 20pc more than that for other areas of the NHS,” she added.
She said parity of esteem was only introduced to the Health and Social Care Act 2012 after an amendment from Labour, while the bill was making its way through Parliament.
She claimed £77m earmarked to help tackle the crisis in children’s mental health, which the government knows exists, is going unspent this year.
She also highlighted a written Parliamentary answer from mental health minister Alistair Burt, which admitted that just £5m of a £15m package for perinatal care would be spent by NHS England this financial year.
We are very pleased that Luciana Berger asked to meet us. How different to Norman ‘mental health champion’ Lamb, who was too scared of the exposure of his duplicity as the responsible minister to take part in a mental health panel discussion with a carer and social worker from our campaign.
Click on the image below to read the story in full on the EDP website: