Jeremy Corbyn has demanded the government ring-fence funding for mental health care as he accused Theresa May of having “failed” patients.
Speaking during prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, the Labour leader said there was now an “acute” crisis in NHS mental health services.
“Despite legislating for parity of esteem, the government has failed to fund it,” he said.
“We have fewer resources for mental health trusts, fewer mental health nurses, fewer child and adolescent psychiatrists.
Corbyn added: “Will the prime minister commit to ring-fencing NHS mental health budgets to support those going through a mental health crisis at a time they most need our help and our support?”
May declined to agree to ring-fencing the mental health budget. But she told MPs the government had put “extra money” into mental health services.
“I am pleased to say that around 1,400 more people are accessing mental health services every day compared to when we came into power,” she said.
The prime minister said Labour’s approach to the economy would lead to increased debt and less money for mental health services. “Ordinary working people would pay the price of Labour,” she said.
May yesterday signalled she the government would back the first ever long-term funding plan for the NHS.
In a victory for Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the prime minister has said she recognises “serious cost and demand pressures” on the health service and that a “multi-year” plan was on the cards.
Labour and Tory MPs on Twitter argued over the state of NHS mental health services as PMQs continued.