Does the Minister agree that the only way to guarantee the highest quality of standards and services for people with mental illness is to ensure that the mental health services stay as an integral part of health and social care? We must not allow them to opt out, operate separately and sell their services to general practitioners and hospitals, thus providing a fragmented service that will allow patients to fall through the net.
I entirely agree with the hon. Lady that mental health services must be an integrated part of the national health service, which is where they remain when they are run by NHS trusts. I hoped that the hon. Lady would use the opportunity of her question this afternoon to welcome the fact that the trust has already employed 20 additional staff in the mental health services of Staffordshire since 1 April and is committed to a further 20 staff before the end of this year. I hoped that she might also welcome the commitment to quality of service by the trust which is shown by the introduction of patient questionnaires, regular surveys of long-stay patients and a medical audit, the setting of standards and by the facts that 90 per cent. of all staff have attended training on quality and public meetings are being held every two months. I should have thought that the hon. Lady would welcome at least some of those facts.