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Mental Health Units

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 24th March 2010.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Shadow Minister (Defence) 11:30 am, 24th March 2010

What the Government's policy is on the provision of modern in-patient mental health units.

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Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

High-quality in-patient care is one component of acute mental health services, supported by appropriate alternatives to admission. The Government paper "New Horizons", which the hon. Gentleman will know of, published in December 2009, set out a cross-Government programme of action to improve the mental well-being of people in England and to drive up the quality of mental health care.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Shadow Minister (Defence)

Praise where it is due; under Blair's Britain, several first-class state-of-the-art mental health in-patient units were opened in or near my constituency. Under Brown's Britain, one of them has just closed and another is under threat. Instead of in-patient facilities, we are promised

"a shared dashboard of clinical performance quality indicators".

Is the Prime Minister happy to see front-line services replaced by management gobbledegook?

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Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

I know that the hon. Gentleman will want to be fair, and the World Health Organisation says that we are the best when it comes to the provision of mental health care. We obviously want to do better every time. Since 2001, there has been a 50 per cent. increase in real-terms investment in mental health. It is wrong to say that we are underfunding mental health. We are trying to do what we can and we will continue to do what we can. The hon. Gentleman should be fair in recognising that.

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Photo of Lynne Jones Lynne Jones Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

Main House in Birmingham has been providing a much valued residential therapeutic service for people with a personality disorder since being nationally commissioned more than 10 years ago. That service has just closed because when national commissioning ended, Ministers' intentions that commissioning should be picked up regionally were not undertaken by the strategic health authority. Will the Prime Minister look into what went wrong, with a view to reopening the service as soon as possible?

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Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

I would be very happy to look into that and I will ask the relevant Minister to get in contact with my hon. Friend.

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