Mental health services in England labelled a "car crash"

  • The outgoing president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has called mental health services in England a "car crash" and says that the health secretary is not taking the problems seriously. /images/mentalhealth.jpg

    Proffessor Sue Bailey told BBC News that mental health services are "in crisis" and that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had a basic understanding of mental health but is failing to make it a priority.

    A government spokesman said Mr Hunt was "proud" to have worked on the front line in "many mental health settings".

    Mental health services are struggling due to a rise in demand and a reduction of resources. Many patients have to deal with a reduction in beds and long distance travel.

    "It's a car crash," said Prof Bailey.

    "The system is in crisis and we need people to listen. The sums of money that could make a difference are not huge but they could make a large difference."

    Asked whether Mr Hunt takes mental health seriously, she replied, "He has a basic understanding of it but whether he takes it seriously, the proof of which would be making it a priority, then sadly not."

    Prof Bailey said: "When he [Mr Hunt] came to dinner with us, he was given a great number of offers to go and see mental health services, child services, services for the elderly, innovative projects and it would be good, especially as we go up to April 2015, to see each and every politician from the parties go out and visit mental health services. One way to make health societies healthier, including mentally healthier, is to invest in the health and education of women because women play this vital role in the rearing of the next generation."

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