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Mental Health Soundbites Not Good Enough

Monday, January 9, 2017

Prime Minister’s media friendly promises all well and good, but cash injection desperately needed, says GMB.

Theresa May's keynote speech [1] on mental health this morning failed to gloss over the damage caused by five years of Tory bed cuts and job losses, says GMB.

The union welcomes the nation’s mental health being placed firmly in the spotlight, but says the Prime Minister has failed to address the real issues.

Since the Conservatives came into Government in 2010, 12 per cent of mental health staff have left [2], almost 5,000 beds have been cut [3] and the number of mental health nurses who say they are unable to give adequate care has doubled [4].

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said:

"It is undoubtedly a good thing mental health issues are firmly in the spotlight following Theresa May's speech this morning.

"However the Prime Minister is clearly in a dangerous state of denial about what our mental health service needs.

"The bottom line is more than 12 per cent of mental health staff have left and almost 5,000 mental health beds have been cut since 2010.

"The number of mental health nurses who say they can't deliver good quality care to their patients has doubled during the same period.

"It is totally unrealistic and unfair to expect teachers and support staff to pick up the strain by running sessions in schools.

"The Prime Minister must also address some of the economic causes of increased mental ill-health including the increasingly stressful and insecure nature of work which adds to the pressure on individuals and their families.

"Happy sound bites and small measures are all well and good - but what we desperately need is a cash injection for our chronically underfunded mental health services."

ENDS

Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk Notes to editors

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38548567

[2] According to the NHS Workforce Statistics: September 2016 publication, released on 20 December 2016, there were 35,488 mental health nurses employed by the NHS in England in September 2016, compared to 40,630 mental health nurses in May 2010, a fall of 5,142: http://www.content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB22716

[3] The number of total NHS England mental health beds fell by 4,695 from 23,515 in the first quarter of 2010/11 to 18,820 in the second quarter of 2016/17, according to the NHS England publication Beds Time-series 2010/11 onwards: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/bed-availability-and-occupancy/bed-data-overnight/

[4] Percentage of mental health nurses who gave a negative answer when asked if they were satisfied with the quality of care they were able to prove, NHS Staff Survey, 2010 and 2015 editions: http://www.nhsstaffsurveys.com/Page/1056/Home/NHS-Staff-Survey-2016/ 

Picture of Theresa May copyright Surrey CC

 

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