Having our campaigning local media and one MP who genuinely cares about mental health makes such a difference.
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor of the EDP, reports:
Norfolk and Suffolk mental health services would have almost £70m a year more if they were treated in the same way as physical health, the Norwich South MP has claimed.
Labour’s Clive Lewis accused the government of failing patients, families, staff and his community, in the way that it funds services.
The Unison union, which provided the figures to Mr Lewis, says that while the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, which specialises in mental health and wellbeing, has seen funding fall by 5pc since 2010, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust has seen a 26pc increase in funding.
According to the mental health trust’s accounts, its turnover was £212.8m last year.
Mr Lewis told MPs: “In the face of severe financial constraints, my trust has been forced to cut services such as early intervention in psychosis, assertive outreach and the specialist homeless teams that were once in place.
“Each and every cut was a false economy. The impact has been catastrophic.
“People in crisis in my constituency have been left without access to a local NHS bed. Instead, they have been sent hundreds of miles from Norwich, separated from their families and care teams, to places as far away as Harrogate, Bradford, London and Brighton.”
He said it was an “affront” to call the extra £600m in mental health in the Autumn Statement an investment. “In reality, it is barely a replacement. Unfortunately, it is too late for those in my constituency who have lost their lives or suffered life-changing injuries because help was not there when they needed it.
“The government has failed patients, failed their families, failed staff and ultimately failed my community,” he added.
Michael Scott, chief executive at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our figures from audited accounts show that over the last five years, less and less money has gone into the mental health services provided by our trust.
“A big investment is needed to reduce this deficit before parity of esteem can become a reality.
The platitudes and bleating from NHS England, the Magnificent Seven CCGs and local MPs need to stop: the crisis has been getting worse for years.
The million of pounds that have been taken from mental health need to be put back.
Too many people in crisis have lost their lives.
Click on the image below to read Annabelle Dickson’s article in full on the EDP website: