Mental Health Workforce

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th November 2017.

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Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp Conservative, Croydon South 12:00 am, 14th November 2017

What steps he has taken to increase the mental health workforce in the NHS.

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

This is the very last one from me, Mr Speaker. We have one of the most ambitious plans in Europe to expand mental health provision. That means that we need to recruit an extra 21,000 posts over the next three years, and plans are in place to do that.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp Conservative, Croydon South

I thank the Secretary of State for his encouraging answer, but what does that mean specifically for mental health provision and funding in the London Borough of Croydon?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

My hon. Friend is right to challenge me on that, because we are asking all clinical commissioning groups to increase their funding for mental health in real terms year in, year out. Some 85% of CCGs are doing that, and an extra half a billion pounds reached the frontline of mental health last year. Regrettably, Croydon is not part of that 85%, so I will take his question away and find out exactly what is happening.

Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Wavertree

How does the Secretary of State expect to achieve the plans to increase the mental health workforce when only last week the head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said:

“On the current funding outlook, it is going to be increasingly hard to expand mental health services”?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

It has been challenging to expand mental health services over the past seven years due to the financial pressure on the NHS, but we have succeeded. We have 4,300 more people working in mental health trusts and £1.4 billion more is being spent on mental health than three years ago. We have a plan—it is a good one—and we are going to ensure that it happens.

Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden

I am sure that the Secretary of State will welcome the fact that cancer survival rates are at a record high, but will he explain how the Government are going to fund the latest technology, so that we can continue to stay ahead of this terrible disease?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s question. As he knows, 150 more people are starting cancer treatment every single day compared with 2010, which is why there are 7,000 people alive today who would not have been if we had the cancer survival rates of five years ago. However, we are still behind western European averages, and we want to do something about that. A big investment in capital equipment for cancer is therefore something that we are prioritising.

Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Transport)

Constituents in York who have experienced sexual trauma have no clinical pathway to address their psychological support. Will the Secretary of State therefore take action to ensure that we have a national framework to support women in particular, but also the staff who provide that service?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

Such issues are much in people’s minds at the moment, and the hon. Lady makes an important point, so I will take that away with me and come back to her with some thoughts once I have looked into it carefully.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Public Health)

Further to the Secretary of State’s response to the question of my hon. Friend Luciana Berger, I feel that the Secretary of State is not being clear with the House. Will the extra money that Simon Stevens asked for be in the Budget or not?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

I am afraid that the hon. Lady will have to wait until the Chancellor delivers his Budget. There are huge financial pressures on the NHS. We inherited a financial recession but, if she looks at this Government’s record she will see that, unlike her party, we refused to cut spending on the NHS; we are now increasing it.