Well said, William Armstrong, Chairman of Healthwatch, former Norfolk Coroner and current Sheriff of Norwich:
Mental health services are being “starved of resources”, the chairman of a health watchdog in Norfolk has said.
Ex-coroner William Armstrong, of Healthwatch Norfolk, said cuts meant “more misery” for patients and their families.
He said he had seen a “fragmented and uncoordinated” approach to mental health during his time as a coroner.
Mr Armstrong, who was Norfolk coroner for 18 years, said he saw many inquests involving people with mental health conditions.
In September 2013, he presided over an inquest into mental health patient Matthew Dunham, 25, who died at Castle Mall shopping centre in Norwich.
The inquest was told Mr Dunham faced a month-long wait to see a specialist after describing suicidal thoughts.
Mr Armstrong told BBC Look East: “Mental health services are being starved of resources given to other parts of the health system. We need to treat mental health on a parity with physical health.
“We need to spend more money on mental health, that is unarguable. The government is beginning to recognise that.”
He said the lack of cash meant more people with mental health conditions would not be diagnosed, leading to “more misery for them and their families”.
Mr Armstrong said the number of people killing themselves when suffering from mental health conditions could be reduced with the “right specialised treatment by the right people”.
A spokesman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said: “Mental health services have to be funded at a level which delivers a decent service to the most vulnerable and needy, young or old. This is not the case at the moment.”
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which treats mental health patients, said it was “deeply saddened” by Mr Dunham’s death but would not comment further.
Perhaps NSFT’s silence is because it is getting sued by families of those it has let down? Or because NSFT only chooses to talk about ‘good news’?
Where is duplicitous ‘mental health champion’ Norman Lamb, the local MP and Minister of State at the Department of Health directly responsible for mental health? Nowhere to be seen. That’s something at least.
Read the article in full on the BBC website by clicking on the image below: