"They're starting to get results, [health] Minister!"
"Time to restructure!"
The photo above is from a mug of tea I was drinking at work today. It made me laugh, but also got me thinking about the worrying prospect of NHS cuts in light of the public deficit following the global recession. Quite how our new coalition goverment will handle this I don't know, but my worry is it will impact adversely on Mental Health Services.
Why? Because in this day of public pressure groups and political maneuverings, it is the group of patients with mental health problems who lack a strong and unified voice. It probably stems from stigma, a case which is made worse by the aggressive shift towards community care during '80s conservative days, meaning society has been suddenly and unpreparedly exposed to a fear which they have no idea how to handle or integrate into society. It is a prime target for cuts.
There are very few advocates, people fighting for this vulnerable sector. But politically and socially, think of the huge burden of psychiatric illness: which 1 in 4 people will suffer from sometime in their life. Loss in earnings and taxes. Loss in confidence and stable homes. Worse and untreated physical health. Reduced life expectancy and huge socioeconomic inequalities widening. To not make this a priority, both within specialist services and in primary care when the bulk of illness is treated, would therefore be a huge mistake!
I pray the new goverment can make the correct decisions to cut excess and waste, and prune the health service to make it more efficient, effective, satisfying and above all accessible.