Why ‘Cin­derella’ ser­vice can­not go on

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Speaker’s corner -

This week in West­min­ster I was with UKIP lead­er­ship can­di­date Lisa Duffy as she launched her vi­son for the NHS and specif­i­cally Men­tal Health ser­vices.

The NHS is the very best of Bri­tish so­ci­ety. It’s there when we need it, and it gives us peace of mind even when we don’t. Un­der Lisa’s lead­er­ship, Lisa doesn’t just want UKIP to be­come a party of the NHS, she wants UKIP to be­come the party of the NHS.

Once again, our man­i­festo for the health ser­vice will be rooted in our be­lief as a party in the ‘N’ in NHS; it is our Na­tional Health Ser­vice, not an in­ter­na­tional health ser­vice.

Lisa said: “At its best, the NHS is a part­ner­ship be­tween pro­fes­sion­als and their pa­tients, not just the doc­tors, nurses and con­sul­tants, but the porters and clean­ers too. They’re just as im­por­tant and I know they’re some of the most ded­i­cated peo­ple in our coun­try.”

Un­der­ly­ing men­tal health is­sues are prov­ing the key de­bil­i­tat­ing fac­tor in many peo­ple’s lives.

There’s been a huge in­crease in the num­ber of chil­dren and young adults who self-harm – a 68% in­crease in hospi­tal ad­mis­sions over the last ten years. The age at which de­pres­sion is be­ing di­ag­nosed gets younger and younger, and three chil­dren in an av­er­age class will suf­fer a recog­nis­able men­tal health dis­or­der.

The fig­ure gen­er­ally quoted is one in four of us will ex­pe­ri­ence a men­tal health prob­lem at some time in our lives. Lisa sus­pects that is a se­ri­ous un­der­es­ti­mate. How many of us suf­fer de­pres­sion, ad­dic­tion, eat­ing dis­or­ders, or anx­i­ety and bat­tle on alone, never go­ing to our doc­tor?

Men­tal ill­ness has an enor­mous im­pact on the fam­i­lies of those who are af­fected. This can be al­most as dev­as­tat­ing as on the pa­tient them­selves. Fam­i­lies need help too, but of­ten don’t get any.

The stigma of men­tal ill­ness has kept so much suf­fer­ing out of pub­lic view. It is an un­seen ill­ness with so many vari­ants.

One key fac­tor be­hind the very patchy pro­vi­sion for men­tal health­care in the NHS is a lack of re­sources. It is shock­ing. Spend­ing on men­tal health has de­clined in real terms since 2010. More than half of all men­tal health trusts are re­port­ing cuts to their in­come. This must change.

When elected leader of UKIP, Lisa pledges to find an ad­di­tion £1 bil­lion to plough into Men­tal Health Ser­vices.

Fund­ing streams must be in­no­va­tive. Very wealthy for­eign na­tion­als buy­ing up prime prop­erty in our coun­try could be made to pay more into the na­tional kitty in re­turn for what Bri­tain of­fers them. Are all cor­po­rate busi­nesses pay­ing a fair share of tax to fund our pub­lic realm?

Lisa will make sure too the bulk of the money comes from the rich­est and not from the or­di­nary work­ing peo­ple who’ve en­dured a squeeze on their liv­ing stan­dards for far too long.

The prize is great. We can cre­ate men­tal health ser­vices that swing into ac­tion at an early stage and not when pa­tients are in acute and im- me­di­ate need.need

The age of the Cin­derella men­tal health ser­vice can­not con­tinue. It shames and harms us all. It fails the test of com­mu­nal re­spon­si­bil­ity, the prin­ci­ple upon which the NHS it­self was orig­i­nally built.

Un­der Lisa’s lead­er­ship, UKIP can, and will, play a key role in mov­ing men­tal health ser­vices to a much bet­ter place.

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