RCPsych welcomes the Government's Green Paper: "Work, Health and Disability: Improving Lives"

Statement / comment
07 November 2016
The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes the publication of the Government’s green paper on work and health. The paper is said to lead the drive that promotes integration across healthcare and employment services in order to ‘halve the disability employment gap’.

We would encourage the government to set out clear and workable plans to improve the support for helping people with disabilities and health conditions into work. We are aware that people with mental health problems want to work but that there are significant barriers preventing this, including prejudice and discrimination. The current system is not working for people with mental health conditions. They are less likely to be in employment than those with other health conditions.

The Green Paper rightly highlights that getting a good quality job can have real health benefits and the longer someone is out of work the more their mental health condition could deteriorate. It is therefore vital that we make it easier for people to access treatments quickly. Recent figures have however shown that two thirds of people with mental health conditions get no treatment at all.

We hope that the government will look carefully at the current working of the benefits system and ensure that this does not unfairly treat people with disabilities of all kinds and avoids discriminating against people with mental health conditions. It is crucial that both the welfare and employment systems function effectively to create a just system that supports people into work and does not worsen their health, pushing them even further from work.

We look forward to the Green Paper’s consultation and that this will allows all groups to work together to improve employment opportunities for people with mental health problems, whilst also protecting the most vulnerable who cannot work.

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