Swindon MP's parity call for mental health aid

This Is Wiltshire: Karen Edwards, mother of Becky Godden-Edwards, and Robert Buckland MP backing Mental Health Charity, SUNS’ Listening Line and wristbands Karen Edwards, mother of Becky Godden-Edwards, and Robert Buckland MP backing Mental Health Charity, SUNS’ Listening Line and wristbands

ROBERT Buckland was fighting for parity between patients suffering from physical and mental health problems in the House of Commons yesterday.

The South Swindon MP took his opportunity as a backbench member to use a Ten Minute Rule Bill to draw attention to the gap in care offered to mental and physical health patients.

A year ago, the Tory MP said, Government introduced a new law which meant improvements would be made to the way data is collected from mental health patients by the NHS.

He said the data, which was previously not collected, was vital to improve services offered to mental health patients.

Described as ‘parity of esteem’ by Mr Buckland, he is concerned with the way patients suffering from physical injuries have always been asked for feedback on their treatment, which has contributed to widening the gap between the quality of care they and people with mental illnesses receive.

Despite the law being changed a year ago, he said not enough has yet changed in the way the information is collected from mental health patients.

“When you go into hospital with a broken leg you expect to get fixed, and mental health crises deserve parity,” he said.

“The change in law last year meant we asked the NHS to deliver ways in which we get information to make services better.

“These patients are vulnerable and the service has to work for them. Good and bad experiences need to be logged, otherwise they are not going to be able to amend the service on offer.

“The gap in care has always been there until we changed the law last year.

“It has always been catch-up in the NHS when it comes to mental health.”

Since the law was changed last year, the Government has published the NHS mandate to work towards parity of esteem in the way the NHS gathers feedback from mental health patients.

Mr Buckland wants more progress.

He said of his bill: “It was a nudge to everybody so that they redouble their efforts to improve the information collected.

“I wanted to try and provide a spur so that people know of MPs who want to see progress on this as soon as possible.”

The Conservative MP will seek a reply from NHS England in the New Year.

He wants to know what it is doing to move forward on the parity issue.

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