Independent: Children’s mental healthcare in crisis, Care Minister Norman Lamb admits

“…charities and local councils warned of a “national crisis” in young people’s mental health. Nearly half of all local authorities have slashed funding for services after seeing their budgets cut by the Coalition Government’s austerity drive – with funding for children’s mental health reduced by as much as 94 per cent in some areas.”

Whose government slashed the budgets of local authorities and failed to protect young people’s mental health services?

“Meanwhile the Government’s decision not to continue historic increases in NHS funding has led commissioners around the country to seek savings – with the axe disproportionately falling on mental health services for both adults and children. Figures obtained last week by the Health Service Journal revealed that £253m had been cut from budgets since 2011/12, while more than 3,600 nursing posts and the equivalent of 213 full-time doctors had been also been cut. “

Whose government failed to properly fund the NHS, created NHS England and the Clinical Commissioning Groups and failed to protect mental health services? Norman Lamb claims to be furious but helpless about the system his government created and he controls.

“It is now commonplace for mental health patients in crisis, including children, to be moved to hospitals far from home, in some cases hundreds of miles, because of the lack of available beds, causing distress to families and complicating efforts to organise their ongoing care.”

We all know about the Map of Shame at Norman Lamb’s local mental health trust, Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). That map doesn’t even include the children and young people shunted around the country by NSFT.

““There is an institutional bias against mental health,” he said. “Partly it’s because the media doesn’t concentrate on it. If the media stays silent, local commissioners, if they are not driven by doing the right thing, may make bad decisions. There needs to be the same focus on mental health as there is on cancer services, stroke services, knee replacements and so on.”

Norman Lamb pretends to be in opposition, claiming services are ‘dysfunctional’, ‘hopeless’, ‘in crisis’ and ‘unacceptable’, when he himself is the Minister of State at the Department of Health responsible for mental health. Norman Lamb’s local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press (EDP), ITV Anglia, the BBC, particularly Radio Norfolk and Radio Suffolk, the Independent, Community Care and the Sunday Times have, to their credit, said plenty about mental health. The problem isn’t the media: the problem is Norman Lamb.

Why is Norman Lamb launching this initiative, reporting just before the next general election, more than four years into government? Could it be to attempt to differentiate the Liberal Democrats from its coalition partners? Doesn’t he know what’s wrong already?

It will be interesting to see what Norman Lamb’s announcement has to offer. Will it be another empty and unfunded promise, like his Cashless Concordat or ‘Parity of Esteem.’ The problem is deeply inadequate resources but let’s see if Norman Lamb’s proposal contains even a hint of a promise of funding, never mind the real cash urgently needed.

As the King’s Fund reported, the truth is that under Norman Lamb’s stewardship funding for mental health has been cut in real terms.

Norman Lamb is a wolf in sheep’s clothing who:

Listen to our campaigner and CAMHS carer, Anne,  interviewed live tomorrow:

  • On BBC Radio Suffolk just after the 0630 news
  • On BBC Radio Norfolk just after the 0700 news

Read the full article by clicking on the image below:

Independent Children's mental healthcare in crisis, Care Minister Norman Lamb admits

1 thought on “Independent: Children’s mental healthcare in crisis, Care Minister Norman Lamb admits”

  1. If  children in crisis are being admitted onto adult wards, this increases the problem of the shortage of beds for adults. Surely any half sensible person can see that too many beds have been closed and that process needs to be reversed. Some joined-up thinking is needed i feel.

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