The Royal College of Psychiatrists today
welcomed the inclusion of parity of esteem for mental health in the
Mandate for the new NHS
Professor Sue Bailey, President of the
College, said the commitment to value mental and physical health
equally was a major step forward and will be important in
addressing stigma and discrimination.
She said: “Parity should be the ‘golden
thread’ running through the whole of healthcare, but it is not just
an issue for the NHS. We advocate a cross-government approach to
achieving parity, with an important role for education, welfare
reform and criminal justice.”
Professor Bailey welcomed the Mandate’s
commitment to improving access to mental health services and
improving waiting times.
But she added: “There is a big funding and
treatment gap for mental ill health. The proportion of spending on
mental health services is much lower than the prevalence of mental
ill health and only a minority of those with mental illness receive
“Average life expectancy of those with severe
mental illness is 15-20 years less when compared to the population
as a whole, with many experiencing worse physical health than those
without such problems. We hope to see measureable progress in
reducing this excess premature mortality by March 2015.
“The impact of mental illness on individuals,
families and communities is huge, and people with physical health
problems are more likely to experience mental health problems.
There really is no health without mental health.”
In addition, Professor Bailey highlighted
three other hopes for the future work of the Commissioning
- That as part of its work on waiting
times, it will introduce agreed standards for mental health
emergencies to ensure a service of equivalent quality as that
expected for a physical health emergency.
- That it will include the ‘friends and
family’ test for inpatient mental health services
- That collective working with service
users and carers will form a key part of service improvement.
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