New Bill to improve health care for people with mental health problems

A new Bill has been presented in Parliament which aims to improve health care for people with mental illness and learning disabilities.

Rehman is pushing for health care commissioners to take full account of mental health needs when making decisions on care.

The Bill would require them to always consider how the services they commission, including for physical illnesses, meets the needs of people with mental health problems and learning disabilities.

Figures show that nearly one in three people with a long term physical health condition have at least one coexisting mental health problem, which can exacerbate their physical illness and delay recovery.

If enacted, this Bill could, for example, help diabetes patients, who are three to four times more likely to develop depression compared to the general population.

Under Rehman's proposal, commissioners would need to demonstrate that they have considered whether to integrate psychological therapies as part of the service provided.

Studies how shown that integrating psychological therapies not only reduces levels of depression but also improves patients’ diabetic control, leading to fewer hospital admissions.

This Bill would require commissioners to present an annual report to the Health Secretary demonstrating how they have taken account of mental health needs.

With one in four people in the UK suffering a mental illness at some point in their lives, and around two million more adults likely to face such an illness by 2030, this Bill will help to put mental health on a more equal footing.

Rehman Chishti said:
"I have presented a Bill in Parliament to ensure that people with mental health problems get the support that they need. By getting health commissioners to always consider the impact of their services on those suffering from mental illness, we can improve the quality of care they receive.

"Physical and mental health are inextricably linked, and in many cases addressing one will affect the other. By tackling the mental health needs of people with long term conditions, such as diabetes, we could save the NHS around £10 billion every year – savings that cannot be ignored. I am grateful to the Royal College of Psychiatrists for their advice on this matter."