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Mental Health: a gap in the service

October 30, 2014 2:10 PM
By David Watts in Beeston Express

Over the past few weeks I have discovered a hidden crisis in the NHS, in terms of how people with mental health problems are treated. For many years mental health treatment has been the Cinderella part of the NHS and I'm delighted that at the Liberal Democrat conference in October Nick Clegg was able to announce new commitments and new money to ensure that those diagnosed with problems get to see a specialist quickly. The problem that I've found though is that many people with mental health problems can't get that diagnosis in the first place, and without this can't access any sort of treatment.

I've compiled a dossier containing 17 cases from Broxtowe over the past few months where the system has failed people. Rather than being offered treatment and support people are passed from pillar to post and no-one will accept responsibility to help them. In the end many find their way to the Borough Council's vulnerable persons team or to the CAB, but neither of these organisations has the training or the power to access treatment for them. The staff at the council and the volunteers at the CAB do a magnificent job, often going far above and beyond the call of duty to try and help, but it is clear that the system at the moment does not work and that too many people are falling between the gaps. I'll put the dossier on the Broxtowe Lib Dem website so that readers can see for themselves the sort of problems that are encountered.

I'm delighted that at the borough council meeting on 29th October everyone supported a motion that I put forward calling on those who can make a difference (the County Council and GP's) to sort matters out urgently. What is needed is a simple pathway to access support and treatment. It is crucial that this is implemented as soon as possible. I will be continuing to lobby them hard to make sure that this becomes a reality and I'm delighted that I have the full support of the borough council to do this.

In other council news I had another motion on the agenda for 29th October stressing that local people are best placed to make decisions about their own future. Significantly, given their recent calls for Broxtowe to be abolished and for the county council to take over everything, the Tories all voted against this. It seems that they are determined to abolish Broxtowe if they get the chance."