Clegg Calls For Mental Health Improvement

The Deputy Prime Minister Believes Waiting Lists Are Currently Too Long


Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for the UK to improve its standards of mental health care.

In an interview with the BBC he said the current approach from the Department of Health meant it was generally regarded as the "poor cousin" of physical health, with referred patients with cancer, broken bones or trauma receiving quicker, more thorough care through the NHS.

"There is too much ignorance, too much prejudice, too much discrimination. We've got to take this out of the shadows," Mr Clegg argues.

To combat this issue, Mr Clegg will chair a conference today (20 January) in which the government's new mental health strategy will be unveiled.

New initiatives are expected to reduce the waiting times experienced by patients. Currently many people have to wait more than six months for talking therapy - leading many GPs to prescribe anti-depressants when it might not be appropriate.

The Liberal Democrat leader's new campaign comes as charity Time to Change published results from its 5,000-person survey that showed 34 per cent of people with mental health problems face stigma or discrimination on a weekly or monthly basis.

It was also revealed that 22 per cent of people waited more than a year to talk to their GP about their depression or anxiety.

While the public are becoming more accepting of mental health problems, with 61 per cent of those surveyed claiming to have seen an improvement in their friends' and family's view of those with such issues, problems in the NHS remain.

Time to Change director Sue Baker said: "These new figures show that stigma and discrimination are still life limiting and for some people, who feel they can’t ever talk about mental health, life threatening."

More details about Mr Clegg's re-launch of the NHS mental health service are expected to be revealed in the coming days, but Labour have claimed a lack of funding will mean patients will not benefit.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to professional or clinical negligence from a mental health practitioner, or at worst your loved one has died, we can help you to claim compensation. Visit our Mental Health Negligence Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
It is important that mental health services in the NHS remain a priority. The figures released by charity Time to Change are worrying that some people have waited over a year to discuss issues with a GP and also that the stigma around mental health still remains.

“Psychiatric patients are amongst the most vulnerable members of society. They require access to a consistently high standard of care, as otherwise there can be serious implications. It can be extremely difficult to understand many mental health issues as there are often no physical signs, therefore this means that extra care needs to be taken to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care.

“Some mental health issues can require emergency treatment in the same way as physical problems do, so we need to ensure that there is a concise way of monitoring that improvements are being made and implemented across the NHS.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner