Seven-day NHS to include child mental health services, minister confirms
Jess Brown and Adam Offord
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Boosting provision of emergency mental health services for young people will form part of the government's drive to create a seven-day NHS, it has been confirmed.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Conservative peer Lord Prior, minister for NHS productivity, said the government is committed to "parity of esteem" between physical and mental health.
Responding to Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Tyler, who sought assurances that the principle of seven-day working will apply to children's mental health services consultants, Prior said: "We must have the same standards for mental health as we have for physical health.
“If someone has a psychotic crisis on a Friday afternoon and they cannot get access to any help until the following Monday, that is clearly extremely poor care.”
Leading up to the general election, the Conservatives pledged to extend health services to run seven days a week by 2020. This, the party said, will include an increase in the number of GPs and a greater focus on mental health.
In a separate Commons debate, children and families minister Edward Timpson admitted "more action is required” to improve school-based mental health support.
Timpson, said: “What I think we have to come to terms with is the scale of the problem we are facing. I think we have started to wake up to that but now more action is required.”
Timpson added that the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Taskforce had done "a great job in trying to understand how we can get a better level of identification, prevention and whole-service delivery, so that children of all ages, who through no fault of their own do suffer from different forms and levels of mental health get the support when they need it".
In February, the government announced four initiatives, totalling more than £9m, for mental health support for children and young people.