Mental Health Services: Leeds

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 6:00 pm on 23rd April 2019.

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Photo of Fabian Hamilton Fabian Hamilton Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (Defence) 6:00 pm, 23rd April 2019

Yes. I thank the hon. Lady for her point. That is one of the problems: it is a maze. If people are told to refer themselves through a website, which can then refer them to another organisation that is supposed to allow them to make an appointment, and they then leave a message on voicemail and it is never responded to, that is shocking in itself. The example my hon. Friend Alex Sobel gave of the ambulance and the waiting in A&E, and then the lack of credible resources and assistance from the mental health services, highlights the scale of the problem.

After the date for this debate was published, I was contacted by Healthwatch England, which told me that Healthwatch Leeds was about to publish a report on mental health in Leeds and that it would be happy for me to use some of the report’s data and conclusions in the debate. Unfortunately, owing to unforeseen circumstances, the publication of the report has been delayed, but to show that Andy Downey’s is not an isolated case, here is a quote from one of the 697 people in Leeds—I do not know his or her name—who gave evidence for the report during the first three months of 2019:

“I do not know what is wrong with the entire Trust. I had waited since February for a referral to the CMHT”— the community mental health team—

“I was seen in August. I was discharged, told to talk to IAPT. IAPT has its own waiting lists. As a result of not being able to prove I accepted, I lost everything. I DID NOT REFUSE TREATMENT!! NONE WAS OFFERED!! Today I phoned the crisis team in tears, and they said ‘contact your GP in the morning’. I have no job, I have no money, I went through over 6 months waiting for a simple appointment. I am struggling, and the best the crisis team can do is say ‘contact your GP’. My GP referred me to the CMHT because I was suicidal. Can’t believe the crisis team said ‘tell your GP’. I have been telling my GP, who couldn’t handle it, so he sought help. Today I found out I lost my job, and I will soon be homeless, because my home is provided by my employer. I was suicidal and depressed before today... can’t the crisis team show some empathy and realise some things are a tipping point?”