Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton has today published a Bill calling for better access to mental health services.
The Bill, which Mike first introduced to Parliament last September, aims to establish maximum waiting times and access standards to psychological therapies (or talking therapies) for those with mental health problems. Psychological therapies are proven and cost-effective treatments for a range of mental health problems, with as many as half of all who go through therapy making a full recovery.
Mike‘s Bill, if enacted, would ensure that people waiting for psychological therapies would have to wait no longer than those waiting for treatment for physical conditions. The Bill also ensures that those needing urgent access to therapies would be guaranteed to be seen within 28 days.
Commenting ahead of the Bill’s second reading on Friday, Mike Thornton MP said:
"I am delighted to have published this Bill today. During our lives each one of us will either suffer from, or have a relative or a close family friend that suffers from, a mental health problem. When you experience a mental health problem, timely access to the right type of therapy can make a huge difference.
"The Government have committed to ensuring that mental and physical heath are given the same importance but this Bill, if enacted, would really make that statement a reality.
"I urge the Government to give the Bill Parliamentary time needed to make it onto the Statute Book."
The Bill supports the aims of the We Need To Talk coalition, which is calling on NHS England to ensure that people with mental health problems can access a full range of evidence-based psychological therapies within 28 days of referral. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind and Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, two charities that are members of the coalition, said:
"At a time when one in ten people with mental health problems are still waiting over a year to access talking therapies, we are delighted to see a new bill published that will, if enacted, make sure that those needing urgent care receive the support they rightly deserve.
"The Government has been making good progress in improving access to talking treatments but we know that there is still a long way to go. We would like to see a commitment to establishing and delivering waiting time standards, which would show us that mental health services are finally being seen as just as important as physical health services."
A copy of Mike’s Bill (Access to Mental Health Services Bill 2013-14) can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0106/14106.pdf