I've come out of my blogging hibernation, to have a rant about deputy PM Nick Clegg's cash-injection into mental health services.
Clegg is promising that people with mental health issues will be seen more quickly. There will be a target waiting time of 18 weeks, he says, promising an extra £120 million of government funding.
The first thing that strikes me is that there is no mention of standards - no suggestion that the £120m will be spent on good quality psychotherapy. My guess is that much of the cash may be pumped into the already heavily-criticised IAPT programme. This thought saddens me deeply. I don't share the enthusiasm of (for instance) ReThink, who said “This is a watershed moment for everyone affected by mental illness and has the potential to improve the lives of millions.”. (... aren't ReThink one of the organizations who would stand to earn a chunk of the £120m??)
As other commentators such as Andrew Samuels have intimated, I think the £120m will largely be spent on expensive training for
poorly-qualified practitioners, who will then deliver manualized psuedo-therapy.
One more thought... perhaps readers will remember what happened when Accident and Emergency waiting targets were
introduced in the UK. All kinds of amazingly creative tactics have been used to
keep the figures down. In my town of Colchester, people are still
waiting for hours in an ambulance outside the hospital - such is the need to massage the
How can we expect anything different to happen in mental health
services? I await with dread the horror stories to come, of patients who
have been sidelined in ever-more demeaning ways, and their suffering
We need to do better.