Charity hits out at Whitehall's health promises

A MENTAL health charity in Portsmouth has labelled the government's pledge to do more for the vulnerable '˜a sham'.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 6:00 am
Prime Minister Theresa May

Tonic Music for Mental Health, which holds musical therapy workshops, says nothing will change unless Whitehall ‘injects a huge amount of cash’ into the NHS.

Tonic worker Robert Coache believes the ‘paltry’ £15m sum promised for better community-based work will barely scratch the surface of problems blighting society. And he warned mental health services are at crisis point – as they have no money and waiting lists are growing out of control.

Mr Coache said: ‘It’s an absolute sham. Theresa May’s “shared society” makes as much sense as “Brexit means Brexit”.

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‘It’s just smoke and mirrors.There’s nothing in those words that mean anything. The only thing that will change anything is a huge injection of cash into the NHS.

‘The government is saying they want to provide mental health first aid training in schools – yet I have no idea what that would be.

‘The government are recommending websites where you can self-diagnose, but that’s already happening, through NHS Choices. People diagnose themselves through Google.

‘They will then see a GP, and that GP, who has no time or money, will refer that patient to the mental health services, which are already stretched and have no money.

‘Children are being referred to adult mental health services because they would be seen quicker.’

And he blasted the Brexit campaign for making people assume the UK would pour £350m it sends to Brussels in EU membership into the NHS instead.

He said: ‘That’s the sort of thing making people livid now. If this is not a way of enacting back-door privatisation, and this is the best the government can do for mental health and the NHS, then we are all in trouble.’

The concerns come at the same time as a plan unveiled by Portsmouth education bosses to teach children in primary and secondary schools about the meaning of stress, anxiety and depression in a bid to stop mental health problems arising in their teens.