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For World Mental Health Day last week I
issued a statement calling on
governments to take the issue of parity seriously. This was
countersigned by my counterparts in Australia, New Zealand and
Canada. To back this up, the Head of Policy, Lucy Thorpe,
joined me in meeting Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb, and his
senior civil servants. To get to his inner sanctum we had to walk
past some mildly disconcerting framed photos of celebrities, with
chest x-rays superimposed on their torsos; I couldn’t help thinking
about risk of cancer several service users run because of their
addiction to tobacco.
The minister was very genuine in his intent to tackle parity and I
felt the meeting was positive as we presented our draft report on
the issue to the ministerial advisory group for mental
Later I accompanied mental health charities and Clare Gerada, chair
of the Royal College of General Practitioners to meet Ed Milliband,
who has an interest in parity.
So, we have a good reception from politicians of all parties and
now we must complete our report before Christmas; that’s when the
real work begins. I need every members help to turn parity of
esteem for mental and physical health from rhetoric to reality This
is a project that has short-term wins but we need to stick to it
for the long haul as it will improve the lives of users and carers,
reduce inequalities and save money.
It was good to see so many people at the general and adult faculty
conference with really excellent programme.
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