Mental Health Was the Centrepiece of Jeremy Corbyn's First PMQs - And It's Time for Action

Mental Health Was the Centrepiece of Jeremy Corbyn's First PMQs - And It's Time for Action

Yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn used two out of six allocated questions at his first ever Prime Minister's Questions session to talk about mental health. The significance of this cannot be understated. It sent a clear message - along with this week's appointment of Luciana Berger

This political prominence is welcome, and it's fair to say that it reflects widespread and genuine public concerns; Corbyn crowd-sourced topics to raise, and received over one thousand about the problems with mental healthcare.

The most powerful question was how the Prime Minister felt about patients having to travel long distances for care because mental health beds are unavailable locally. This was an extremely well-chosen question, as the practice of having to send patients 'out-of-area' for routine inpatient care because all of the local beds are full is one of the clearest examples of how far behind mental health is when compared to physical healthcare. Having to travel for care in this way - sometimes hundreds of miles - would be unacceptable if someone needed to have their appendix removed. But it isn't just inconvenient - the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness

In his answers, the Prime Minister came tantalisingly close to this. Firstly, he mentioned the introduction of waiting time standards for mental health

The Prime Minister repeatedly talked about 'needing a strong economy for a strong NHS'. There's obviously some truth to this, but we'd say the opposite is in fact more appropriate. Robust economic analysis shows that mental illness costs the English economy around £105 billion each year

One particular claim by the Prime Minister might raise eyebrows - specifically that there is 'parity of esteem between mental and physical health' in the NHS Constitution

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Mr Gregory Smith, Policy Analyst, the Royal College of Psychiatrists


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