Lib Dems introduce new mental health waiting time standards

On World Mental Health Day, Lynne Featherstone MP has welcomed Nick Clegg’s ground-breaking announcement on mental health treatment in the UK.

At the Liberal Democrat conference on Wednesday, the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed that treatment for mental health conditions will finally be brought into line with other NHS services, with the introduction of the first ever waiting time standards.

For the first time, from April 2015, most patients needing talking therapies – for conditions like depression – will be guaranteed the treatment they need in as little as six weeks, with a maximum wait of 18 weeks.

For many patients experiencing their first episode of psychosis, the NHS will start to provide treatment within two weeks of referral – bringing it into line with consultations for cancer.

Evidence shows that treating psychosis rapidly can dramatically improve patients’ chances of recovery and potentially save £44 million each year in hospital admissions.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Finally, thanks to the Liberal Democrats in Government, people with a mental health condition will receive the same standards of care as they would for a physical health problem.

“And it’s about time – given that at least one in four people will experience a mental health problem throughout the course of our lives.

“Mental Health treatment is rightly making its way up the agenda. I am so happy to also hear that one of our great local mental health charities, Open Door, has just been awarded two major new grants to support its work.

“We really are getting closer to equality between mental and physical health treatment!”