Minister calls for new mental health service targets

The introduction of hospital-style treatment targets would help address the “institutional bias” against mental health services, a health minister said.

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

Saturday, November 2, 2013
7:00 AM

The introduction of hospital-style treatment targets would help address the “institutional bias” against mental health services, a health minister said.

Norman Lamb said he was determined to address the imbalance between physical health and mental health by bringing in new targets by the time of the next general election.

The North Norfolk MP and health minister yesterday said that hospitals had targets to treat patients needing non-emergency surgery within 18 weeks. However there were no similar targets or a payment by results system for mental health trusts.

Mr Lamb said that the introduction of targets would help to focus more NHS commissioner funding towards mental health services and it was “totally frustrating” how long it was taking to change things.

He added that whilst there were 18 week targets for physical health, a person with an eating disorder could wait a long time for access to health services and support.

“Why is it that there is no standard of access in mental health when there is with physical health? The impact on wellbeing is sometimes greater in mental health. It has been a battle to win arguments but we are getting there and I am determined to set standards by 2015. I want waiting times to reduce sooner than that.”

“We have to get to the point where the payment system for mental health is changed and reformed. The current system does not work and disadvantages mental health against other forms of health,” he said.

Mr Lamb was speaking at a Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust carers’ forum in Norwich to give more help and support to carers of people with mental health problems.

“Mental health has for a very long time been a Cinderella service and there is an institutional bias against mental health and part of that is about society’s attitude to mental health. We have to find every possible way to break down the stigma.”

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health/

 

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