Nick Clegg Announces Renewed NHS Focus on Mental Health

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Published: 9 Oct 2014      

In the run-up to the upcoming general election Nick Clegg has announced that new NHS reforms would see suicidal patients being given the same level of priority as heart attack patients in an effort to provide more resources to working with people who have mental health issues.

Additionally the changes, which will come into force in April, will see waiting times instituted for those who suffer from issues such as depression and psychosis, ensuring that they get treated by a licensed professional in the hope of helping them with their conditions.

The £120 million plan is one of the largest shifts in mental health treatment in the last few decades and Clegg claims that a Liberal Democrat government would extend the changes to cover even more issues should they win the upcoming election.

In a speech that is expected to be delivered at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Glasgow it is believed Clegg will tell attendees that "For the first time ever, we will introduce national waiting times for patients with mental health conditions.

"Labour introduced waiting times in physical health - we will do the same for the many people struggling with conditions that you often can't see, that we often don't talk about, but which are just as serious.

"So if you are waiting for talking therapies to help with your depression, you will be seen within six weeks - 18 weeks at an absolute maximum - just as if you are waiting for an operation on your hip.

"If you are a young person experiencing psychosis for the first time, you will be seen within two weeks, something we are going to roll out across the country - just as if you suspect you have cancer.

"If you are having a breakdown, if you are thinking of harming yourself, for any emergency which takes you to A&E, you'll get the help you need - just as if you had gone to hospital with chest pains or following an accident."

The reforms have met widespread acclaim from many who work with people suffering from mental health issues and stand as further action on Clegg's on personal advocacy for better treatment of patients.

The extended plan is likely to be placed at the core of the Liberal Democrats own election manifesto, which suggests that the party will look to further reform NHS practices further down the line.

As of yet there is no information on how these changes will affect the treatment of patients with physical health issues, if at all, and some questions still remain about how the already tight NHS budget will be stretched even further to incorporate the reforms.


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