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Tuesday, 26 April 2005 09:24
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Mentally ill missing out
In a report, Action Stations, by Rethink a mental health charity they claim that a vast amount of mentally ill patients in the Britain are being denied access to the care they need.

In the report it shows up to 50,000 patients have been ignored or forgotten and they have been left behind by mainstream mental health services.

Rethink estimates that one in four and one in three people claim that they have been turned away from health or social care services when seeking help in the last three years. On average, it can take 18 months to receive specialist help for a first episode of schizophrenia.

Chief executive Cliff Prior said mental health patients wanted to be "remembered, seen and heard".

"They want to take greater control over their lives and should be offered real choice and effective involvement in planning their mental health care”.

Richard Brook, chief executive of Mind, said: "We feel the crucial action now required to bring about change is to seize the political agenda - to move forward with the next Government to achieve proper mental health funding and service provision”.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Paul Burstow said the needs of people with severe mental illness had been "shamefully neglected".

"A government obsessed with targets and headline statistics has ignored the plight of thousands of people with mental illness which should be treated as seriously as physical illnesses.

"The Liberal Democrats would ensure that organisations work together to fit services around people's lives, rather than forcing people to fit their lives around the services they need”.

Shadow Health Minister Tim Loughton said: "Conservative pledges on Mental Health will make sure it's no longer the poor relation in the NHS.

"£3.5 billion of the extra £34 billion invested in health a year by 2010 will go to mental health.

"Our choice agenda will make sure patients have more power to access appropriate mental health treatment faster, rather than relying on drugs”.

Health Minister Rosie Winterton said: "The Labour government has spent an additional £728million on mental health services in last three years.

"We've particularly focussed on employing new teams working in the community to help people with long term mental health conditions stay in their own homes and developing pathways to work and education to reduce stigma and discrimination to help people get back to work.

"Because we realise prevention is as important as cure we also placed a heavy emphasis on helping people stay healthy”.


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