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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

NHS Commissioning Mandate

Embargoed until 13 November 2012

The Royal College of Psychiatrists today welcomed the inclusion of parity of esteem for mental health in the Mandate for the new NHS Commissioning Board.


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 treatment. 


“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 Board:


  • 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.

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896


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