The Liberal Democrat care minister, Norman Lamb, has accused mental health campaigners in his North Norfolk constituency of trolling him on Twitter.
Lamb, who promotes himself as a champion for mental health awareness, was responding to tweets from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk & Suffolk which called him duplicitous and said it had encountered many people who were adversely affected by cuts to mental health services under the Liberal-Conservative coalition.
The MP for Norfolk North tweeted: “I am pursued by vicious, sometimes defamatory and totally cynical trolling by Norfolk/Suffolk Crisis campaigners!”
…a spokesperson for the group, described Lamb’s tweet as “dismissive and insulting”, saying that the campaign was made up of former mental health care workers, bereaved families and service users.
In February, the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust became the first trust specialising in mental health to go into special measures. Campaigners have said community care for the most vulnerable in the region has been decimated, specialist outreach teams that provided support for the severely mentally ill had been closed, and more than 120 beds in the two counties had been lost.
In March, researchers from BBC News and Community Care compared the budgets of mental health trusts in England in 2010-11 with 2014-15, and their findings suggested they had suffered a real-terms budget cut of around 8.25%, or £598m. The research suggested referrals to community mental health teams, which help people avoid being admitted to hospital, had risen nearly 18.5%.
“Mental health nurses and psychiatrists and social workers – they’re not really nasty people. [Lamb] said that we told the most outrageous lies and said he was slandered or libelled on Twitter on an almost daily basis.
“When you actually look at what we say, other than calling him duplicitous, which I would have thought would be a compliment to most politicians, I think we’re actually pretty polite. I don’t think we troll Norman Lamb. He’s a big boy.”
“What he says [about the difficulties facing mental health services in the area] is ‘this is totally unacceptable’ and he says it as if he is not the minister of state in charge of mental health. And what we say to him is that there needs to be less campaigning and more doing. He’s the person in charge. And he doesn’t like that.”
Read Frances Perraudin’s full article on The Guardian website by clicking on the image below: