Mental Health Care Improvements 'Required'

Dame Sally Davies Is Calling For Mental Health Care Improvements


The UK's chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies is calling for improvements to be made to mental health care services in the country, as she wants them to become more of a priority to help protect both patients and the economy.

These views are detailed within her annual report, in which figures show approximately 70 million working days were lost due to employees needing time off because of a mental illness last year, indicating a significant increase of 24 per cent from 2009.

Along with benefit payments, these lost days are thought to cost the British economy somewhere in the region of £70 billion to £100 billion - something that has led the country's chief medical officer to call for mental health care improvements.

Dame Sally commented: "The costs of mental illness to the economy are astounding. Through this report, I urge commissioners and decision makers to treat mental health more like physical health. Anyone with mental illness deserves good quality support at the right time."

She added that between 60 and 70 per cent of people in the UK who suffer from some form of mental illness are in work, "so it is crucial that we take action to help those people stay in employment to benefit their own health, as well as the economy".

Some 13 per cent of the total NHS budget is spent on mental health treatments, but such conditions actually account for around 28 per cent of all illnesses.

Worryingly, Dame Sally highlighted that three-quarters of those with a mental health condition did not receive any treatment at all.

Therefore, in a bid to improve care, she is suggesting that targeted waiting times for treating such individuals are introduced, with greater improvements in general being needed for young people.

Dame Sally noted that half of all adult mental health issues manifest themselves before a person reaches the age of 15, while three-quarters do so by age 18.
She believes increased investment and fewer cuts to services could help to combat this rising problem.

We can help you to claim compensation for clinical negligence if a serious injury or fatality has occurred as a result of inadequate supervision and care. See our Mental Health Negligence Compensation page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The lack of help and support available for those suffering from mental health issues in the UK is very troubling and it is vital steps are taken to quickly consider new approaches to provide improved levels of care and support in this area.

"We have seen first-hand the significant impact delays in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness can have on individuals, as well as their family, friends and colleagues. Reducing waiting times for treatment should be a top priority as these delays within the mental health system are unacceptable. It is vital action is taken to ensure patients receive the help they require and the strain is reduced on the currently overstretched network of support they rely upon.”
Tom Fletcher, Associate