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Poor mental health care 'ruining lives'

Mental health care is so poor and underfunded that "lives are being ruined", a review in England says.

The report - by a taskforce set up by NHS England - said too many people were getting no help or inadequate care.

It set out a number of recommendations, including improving access to talking therapies and crisis care, according to BBC.

Ministers and health bosses immediately accepted the findings, promising to treat a million more people by 2020 with £1bn extra to tackle the problems.

This is to come out of the £8.4bn the government has promised to the health service this Parliament and comes on top of extra money already announced for children's services.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the plan would help put "mental and physical healthcare on an equal footing".

Mental health care is sometimes called the Cinderella service of the NHS. Over the years it has been neglected, marginalised and under-funded. The taskforce's report acknowledges this.

So will the recommendations have the necessary impact? Ministers and NHS bosses have all said they're fully committed to it.

But similar things were said in 2011 when the coalition launched its mental health strategy.

With money so tight in the NHS, the nagging fear is that despite the promises being made history could still repeat itself.

Currently £9.2bn a year is spent on the condition - less than a tenth of the NHS budget - despite one in four people experiencing a mental health problem each year.

The result is that an estimated three-quarters of people go without any help, with the taskforce's report acknowledging that services were so bad that lives have been "put on hold or ruined" and "thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths" have been caused.

 

H.Z

 

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