Mental health is a cross-government priority. Earlier this year we published our mental health outcomes strategy document “No health without mental health”, to drive up standards in services and improve the nation’s mental health. But this cannot just be a problem for the Government, which is why we are working in partnership with the voluntary sector and the wider community.
I thank the Minister for his reply, and I am pleased to hear about the emphasis on mental health. During the recess, I met members of the Charnwood health forum, including Leicestershire’s public health lead for mental health matters. He is concerned that there will be no place for him to advise or work with GP commissioning consortia. Can my hon. Friend reassure him that he will be able to advise GPs?
Yes, I believe that I can. Directors of public health will be the local leaders for public health in their communities. For example, local authorities and GP commissioning consortia will be required to undertake joint strategic needs assessments and produce joint health and well-being strategies for their areas, through health and well-being boards. The directors of public health will be directly engaged in that process and will therefore be able to influence the commissioning not only of health care services but of social care. They will be directly involved in the commissioning of public health locally.
The Minister will be aware of the proposal to close the Edale unit in central Manchester and open a different facility in north Manchester. Can he give the House, and the country, a guarantee that if that were to take place, financial consideration would be given to the total NHS economy and not simply to the mental health trusts, and that there would be clear benefits for mental health patients?
The key point that I take from the hon. Gentleman’s question is the importance of ensuring that there are clear benefits for those who rely on mental health services. Obviously, I cannot prejudge any decisions that are being made locally, because they may well come to a Minister for a decision in the future. I will, however, undertake to consider further the point that the hon. Gentleman has raised, and if necessary to write to him with more detail.