Amendment 5

Part of Health and Care Bill - Committee (Day 1) – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 11th January 2022.

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Photo of Lord Kakkar Lord Kakkar Crossbench 6:15 pm, 11th January 2022

My Lords, I support the objectives of this group of very important amendments. In so doing, I remind noble Lords of my interests as chairman of the King’s Fund and of King’s Health Partners. I have seen this work directly in King’s Health Partners through a programme defined as Mind & Body, which proposes to promote pathways of care across the entirety of our health economy that look in equal measure at physical and mental health for all patients, irrespective of their principal clinical presentation. Initiatives such as that important programme could be brought to fruition only because of the emphasis in the 2012 Act regarding parity for physical and mental health. It demonstrates very clearly that legislative intervention can have a profound impact. I very much join in congratulating my noble friend Lady Hollins on her relentless commitment to these issues in your Lordships’ House over the past 10 years, which have had and will continue to have a profound impact.

It therefore seems counterintuitive for Her Majesty’s Government, in bringing forward this important legislation, to move away from the opportunity to emphasise the importance of this parity. Is it sensible to move away from this position? Why not use the opportunity afforded by this important legislation to emphasise once again the importance of parity between mental and physical health in every respect—not only funding but the organisation and supervision of services and the construction of organisations within the NHS—so that, step by step, we can achieve what every Member of your Lordships’ Committee who has spoken in this debate has emphasised?

Will the Minister, in replying to the debate, reassure your Lordships that not proceeding with these amendments does not undermine what has been achieved so far and that what is proposed in the Bill can without the amendments achieve the continued momentum and concentration of focus on this vital issue, to ensure that we continue not only to develop mental health services but to ensure that they can be integrated more broadly into physical health, and that physical health services can be developed to ensure that the mental health consequences of physical conditions can also be appropriately addressed? In taking this holistic approach, we will achieve the objectives of better well-being and health for all our fellow citizens—one of the most important aspects of the triple aim.