Karin Smyth MP calls out Tory failure on mental health

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, joined her Labour colleagues in denouncing the 13 years of failure by the Conservative Government to deliver parity of esteem for mental health and tackle the burgeoning mental health crisis in young people.

This follows a series of grim statistics which show the collapse in patient outcomes in mental health services.

In 2018, the then Health Secretary announced a zero-suicide ambition for mental health patients being treated in hospital. Since that announcement this has still not been met. Moreover, patients in a mental health crisis are frequently left to languish for hours in A&E, waiting for access to support. More than 5.4 million hours waiting in A&E in 2021/22 alone by mental health patients.

It’s also been revealed that people living in poverty or experiencing financial stress are more likely to develop mental illness. The cost of living crisis is only exacerbating the mental health crisis.

Sadly, 1 in 4 17- to 19-year-olds and a third of 17- to 24-year-olds have tried to self-harm.

The next Labour Government will prioritise a truly preventative plan for mental health services by ensuring access to mental health professionals in every school and put an open access hub in every community, funded by closing tax loopholes.

The Labour Party will also create 7,500 more medical school places and 10,000 more nursing and midwifery clinical placements per year. This comes on top of the party’s pledge to train 700 more district nurses each year, 5,000 more health visitors and recruit thousands more mental health staff.

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:

“After 13 years of Tory Government, our mental health services are at breaking point and patients are being failed. Patients should not pay the price for government incompetence.

“With waiting lists soaring and patients being left receiving inadequate treatment we can see that previous pledges made by the Conservative Party on mental health are not worth the paper they are written on. That’s why we need a fresh start to ensure we support everyone facing mental health difficulties.

“It’s clear that Bristol, and Britain more widely, need to see radical change in how our health service is run. Labour will deliver the boost to medical professional numbers and ensure access to a mental health professional in every school.”

The Labour Party secured an Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons to pass the following motion:

That this House notes with concern the scale of the mental health crisis facing the country with patients suffering with mental health issues waiting more than 5.4 million hours in accident and emergency last year; further notes with concern the mental health crisis facing young people with nearly 400,000 children currently waiting for treatment; recognises the health inequalities within the use of the Mental Health Act 1983; and calls on the Government to adopt Labour’s plan to recruit thousands of mental health staff to expand access to treatment, to provide access to specialist mental health support in every school, to establish open access mental health hubs for children and young people and to bring in the first ever long-term, whole-Government plan to improve outcomes for people with mental health needs