To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the equity of access to treatment of (a) physical and (b) mental health services in England.
The Government enshrined parity of esteem for physical and mental health in law in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The NHS Constitution now states that the National Health Service “is designed to improve, prevent, diagnose and treat both physical and mental health problems with equal regard”.
The Department is investing in mental health to expand and improve services as set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. Spending on mental health has increased to a planned £11.86 billion in 2017/18. NHS England’s Mental Health Investment Standard requires NHS clinical commissioning groups to increase mental health investment by the same proportion or greater as for their overall allocations.
The Government’s mandate to NHS England for 2018-19, states that clinical commissioning groups, should show “measurable progress towards the parity of esteem for mental health enshrined in the NHS Constitution, particularly for those in vulnerable situations”.
The Government has also introduced the first waiting times standards for mental health, following those which have been long established for physical health care.