To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the implications for Government policy of a potential increase in the (a) scale and (b) severity of (i) untreated and (ii) treated mental health conditions during the covid-19 outbreak.
The Ministry of Justice has been a member of the ministerial cross-government Mental Health and Wellbeing Task and Finish group, co-chaired by the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health and Social Care, since it was established in May 2020. This group was formed to examine and respond to the mental health and psychosocial impacts of the pandemic and it published a COVID-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Action Plan on 27 March 2021. (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/973936/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-recovery-action-plan.pdf).
Protecting prisoners and their mental health and wellbeing has been the priority for HMPPS throughout the pandemic. Mental health services have remained open, often adapting to provide support via digital services. We will continue to monitor and review prisoners’ mental health needs and facilitate access to health services.