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Mental Ill Health: West Yorkshire

Volume 736: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2023

9. What assessment he has made of the adequacy of treatments for complex mental health illnesses in West Yorkshire. (905897)

NHS West Yorkshire integrated care boards have increased their investment in mental health services in line with their overall allocation increase. They have spent more than £591 million in the past financial year on their mental health services.

I thank the Minister for that answer. My constituent, Joanne Allotey, has custody of her young granddaughter, who has complex mental health problems, but local mental health services in Leeds are still chronically underfunded after 13 years of Conservative Government cuts. Will the Minister join me in commending Roundhay high school for the support that it has given the family—this is the same school that the former Prime Minister claimed “let down” children—and commit today to delivering truly effective children’s education, health and care plans?

I absolutely pay tribute to the school in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency. I also point out that Red Kite View is a new unit specifically for young people in his constituency. That 22-bed mental health unit opened last year and aims to eliminate out-of-area placements for young children with mental ill health. I am sure that he would welcome that investment in his constituency.

The Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill reported back in January this year. One of the most important recommendations we made was about how people, during a period of wellness, could set out how they wish to be treated during a period of illness. The Government have yet to respond to the Joint Committee, but can we have a mental health Bill in the forthcoming King’s Speech, please?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising that issue. There were many recommendations during pre-legislative scrutiny. We are working through those and we hope to be able to respond fully shortly after the summer recess.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds North East (Fabian Hamilton) highlighted, all too often, children are stuck on long waiting lists for treatment. In West Yorkshire, 30,000 children are currently stuck waiting for mental health treatment, and more than 9,000 people have had their mental health referral closed without accessing treatment. Does the Minister find that acceptable? If the answer is no, what will her Government do about it? This picture is not unique to West Yorkshire, but replicated across England. This Government are letting patients down. When is the Minister going to act to tackle the crisis in mental health services?

I thank the shadow Minister for her question. To highlight another initiative in West Yorkshire, the Night OWLS—Overnight West Yorkshire Living/Advice Service—helpline has been set up for children and young people. It is open between 8 pm and 8 am seven days a week for young people to access, in addition to the 24/7 helpline that is available. I am sure that the shadow Minister will also welcome the fact that we have more than 400 mental health support teams in schools in England, covering 3 million children, so that they can access mental health support directly at school.