We are making good progress on the implementation of the five year forward view for mental health. We have published a workforce plan and invested more money than ever before, and we are providing care to 120,000 more people this year compared with 2013.
The charity Mind recently produced a report called “Feel better outside, feel better inside”, which advocated the benefits of eco-therapy—using activities such as gardening, farming and exercise. The National Garden Scheme has also produced a publication on this. Is the treatment being utilised within the NHS?
I thank my hon. Friend for her work in this area. Yes, I can give her that assurance. It is welcome that local authorities and clinical commissioning groups are considering innovative approaches concentrating on wellbeing, as well as acute services, and eco-therapy is part of that agenda.
I am sure that you, Mr Speaker, and the rest of the House will send their condolences to the family and friends of Rebecca Nevin, a constituent of mine who died aged 32 after many years of poor mental health and an addiction to alcohol. Her father, Stephen, like many parents of adult sufferers of poor mental health, felt largely excluded by health professionals. Does my hon. Friend agree that we need health systems and workers who maintain patient confidentiality while recognising and acting on the genuine concerns of parents of adults?
I am sure that we are all very sorry to hear of the death of my right hon. Friend’s constituent, and we send our condolences to her family. It is extremely difficult to balance patients’ right to confidentiality with the needs and requests of their families, and we will study any recommendations that emerge from the coroner’s investigation.
I heard what the Secretary of State said about funding earlier, and what the Minister said a moment before. However, I sent freedom of information requests to every CCG in the country, and found for the second successive year that more than half of them are not increasing the proportion of their budgets that they spend on mental health. That flies in the face of a commitment made by the Secretary of State at the Dispatch Box, and it flies in the face of the spirit of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. On World Mental Health Day, will the Minister, along with the Secretary of State, commit herself to ensuring that we ring-fence the money that they say is available for mental health?
On World Mental Health Day, I can confirm that we are spending £574 million more on mental health this year. It remains our principle that decisions should be made locally by CCGs, but we have very clear expectations of them, and they will be held to account via inspections.
The ‘Five Year Forward View’ suggested that the Government accepted the case for comprehensive maximum waiting time standards in mental health to match those in physical health. Given that children throughout the country are routinely waiting for months to start their treatment, may I ask what progress the Government are making with the introduction of a maximum waiting time standard for children’s mental health?
The right hon. Gentleman has raised an excellent point. Our Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health will address exactly those issues. We have made clear that we will tackle mental health through early intervention, and early intervention for children and young people is central to that.