ON the day Prime Minister Theresa May announced a new ten year plan for the NHS, borough MP Jackie Doyle-Price, the minister for mental health, Inequalities and suicide prevention, has issued her own statement speaking about the service future.
She says: “The NHS is one of our most loved and proudest achievements as a nation. For 70 years dedicated NHS staff have been there for you during the highs and lows of your life and they deserve our greatest respect and applause.
“But as our nation changes, with people living longer and our population increasing, it is crucial the NHS changes as well to make every pound go further so we can continue to offer world-class care from cradle to grave.
“The Long Term Plan published today (Monday, 7 January) by the NHS – a 10-year strategy drawn up with the help of doctors, clinicians, staff and patients – will deliver a Health Service that is fit for the future.
“An NHS that helps people stay out of hospital by preventing ill health in the first place.
“An NHS that views good mental health as important as good physical health.
“An NHS that empowers patients to take better control of their own health and embraces cutting-edge technology to care for patients closer to home.
“And an NHS that trains, recruits and retains the best staff.
“These are just some of the aims of the plan, which is backed by an extra £20.5 billion of funding a year by 2023/24.
“And as Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention I am pleased a main focus of the plan is mental health. In 2017, sadly, more than 6,200 people took their own life in the UK. And one in four of us will develop a mental health condition this year alone.
“So it is absolutely crucial the plan builds on our commitment to put your mental health on an equal footing to your physical health.
“The plans will address the urgent needs of the growing numbers of children with mental health conditions giving around 350,000 more children mental health support over the next five years.
“We will also make it easier for adults to access talking therapies and transform how the NHS responds to people experiencing a crisis. And for the first time ever, we will introduce waiting time targets for community mental health so people get the treatment they need when they need it.
“The Long Term Plan marks a major milestone in futureproofing the NHS and delivering the Government’s aim of helping people live longer, healthier and happier lives.
“It guarantees world-leading healthcare will always be there for you, free at the point of delivery, when you need it most. Something we can all get behind.”