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Mental Health

Volume 593: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2015

10. What guidance he has given to clinical commissioning groups and mental health trusts on jointly funding not-for-profit voluntary and charitable organisations providing support for people with mental health issues. (907652)

The Government are clear that voluntary organisations and charities make an important contribution to the delivery of local health and social care services, including services that support people’s mental health needs. However, it is the responsibility of local commissioners to commission appropriate services based on their local population’s needs.

The Minister will be aware that although the NHS is one organisation, trusts seem to operate as silos. Will he convene a meeting of all the trusts in the Colchester area to discuss the future of the Haven project?

I visited the Haven last week with my hon. Friend, and I was enormously impressed by everything I heard, including the extraordinary testimonies of people with personality disorders who had benefited so much from the Haven’s service. In my view, it would be incredibly sad and very worrying if that service were to be lost. I am happy to invite the clinical commissioning group and the mental health trust to a meeting in the Department to discuss how it can be saved.

I recently met the five UK Youth Parliament Members from Rotherham, who talked about the lack of facilities for mental health help in education, both further education and state education. May I say to the Minister that it is all right saying that it is up to local commissioning groups, but where is the leadership, when our young people are being left in extremely difficult situations and are seen by some professionals but, sadly, not health professionals?

The local Members of the Youth Parliament the right hon. Gentleman met make an incredibly important point. I refer him to the children and young people’s mental health and well-being taskforce, which will report very soon. I think that the role of schools will be crucial in its conclusions, and I encourage him to look at the report when it emerges.

The latest figures show a huge rise in the number of young people with a mental illness turning up at A and E. Young people not getting the help they need early on and becoming so ill that they need hospital care shows that the system is failing. Does the Minister accept that this Government’s decision to cut children’s mental health services at the same time as wasting £3 billion on a reorganisation has been a key factor in that failure?

This Government have absolutely not made any decision to cut children’s mental health services, and the hon. Lady knows it is misleading to suggest otherwise. These decisions are taken by local commissioners in local authorities and CCGs. Indeed, we have legislated for parity of esteem for mental health. I urge her to look at the outcome of the work of the children and young people’s mental health and well-being taskforce, which I think gives us a real opportunity to improve the way in which services operate.