Amendment 5

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

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 6:15 pm, 11th January 2022

My Lords, I should declare my interests as having worked with liaison psychiatry extensively in the cancer centre in Cardiff, and as chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum for England and Wales.

One group that has not been mentioned yet—I appreciate the noble Lord, Lord Warner, mentioning some—is those with impaired capacity and learning difficulties. We should not underestimate the importance of access to psychiatry for those people who develop mental health problems as a result of their physical health problems. To view the two as separate is a fallacy because they are completely integrated in many people. Many people present initially with a physical illness but develop mental health problems which, if ignored, become really major. The opposite also occurs, of course. Those people with learning difficulties and impaired capacity at different levels often have a raft of quite serious physical medical conditions that might be particularly difficult to diagnose because their mental health problems get in the way of their ability to express themselves.

If we are really to drive up the health of the nation at all, we would be completely misguided to ignore the importance of this group of amendments. Like others, I urge the Government to grasp this nettle, put this in the Bill and make sure we finally address this severe imbalance, which has left so many people never accessing the care they need. That applies both to mental health care and to those with mental health difficulties who then fail to access the physical healthcare support they need because they just cannot express their needs properly.