Jeremy Corbyn creates new dedicated ‘Minister for Mental Health’ in his shadow cabinet

Jeremy Corbyn has appointed a shadow “Minister for Mental Health” to his shadow cabinet, Labour has announced.

Luciana Berger will directly work on mental health issues and consider how they can best be addressed by the NHS and prioritised by a Labour government.

The post, which is Cabinet-level, is a new creation of Mr Corbyn’s shadow administration and has no identical counterpart in the Conservative government.

Mental Health News“We have delivered a unifying, dynamic, inclusive new Shadow Cabinet which for the first time ever has a majority of women,” Mr Corbyn said in a statement.

“I am delighted that we have established a Shadow Cabinet position for mental health which is a matter I have long been interested in.”

The Government currently rolls responsibility for mental health into a junior care minister position. The new role will report to the Shadow Health Secretary at the Department of Health.

Mr Corbyn spent his first day as leader attending a fundraiser organised by his local NHS mental health trust. He was criticised in the press for attending the event in lieu of a planned appearing on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.

In a speech in Parliament in February this year Mr Corbyn explained his attitude to mental health and why he thought the subject was so important.

“All of us can go through depression; all of us can go through those experiences. Every single one of us in this Chamber knows people who have gone through it, and has visited people who have been in institutions and have fully recovered and gone back to work and continued their normal life,” he said.

“I dream of the day when this country becomes as accepting of these problems as some Scandinavian countries are, where one Prime Minister was given six months off in order to recover from depression, rather than being hounded out of office as would have happened on so many other occasions.”

Mr Corbyn said at the time that he believed access to “timely and appropriate” treatment was the biggest issue for mental healthcare, alongside the recognition of mental disabilities by the Department for Work and Pensions.

“I have had far too many anecdotal reports from constituents and others who go for a Department for Work and Pensions availability for work test,” he said.

“If they have a physical disability, it is usually fairly obvious and it can be quantified and, we hope, taken into account in how the interview and test are conducted. If somebody has a mental health condition, it is not so obvious and cannot be so easily quantified.

Mental Health Logo“There are far too many cases where the stress levels are unbelievable for people who have been forced into these tests.”

Mr Corybn unveiled his full shadow cabinet today in an announcement.

Other notable offices include John McDonnell as Chancellor, Andy Burnham as Home Secretary, Hilary Benn as Foreign Secretary, Heidi Alexander as Health Secretary, and Angela Eagle as Business Secretary.

Stone J. 2015 The Independent Monday 14 September 2015

“Mental health issues need all the attention possible”

Two-thirds of English NHS Trusts set to fall into the red

THE INDEPENDENT (Morris. N 05/05/2015 P.4) reports that two-thirds of English NHS Trusts are expected to fall into the red this year, raising fears that hospital managers could be forced to cut services, lay off staff and close wards.

A private analysis by NHS Providers, which represents foundation trusts, found that 64 per cent of 98 trusts would make a projected loss in 2015-16 of £759million.

Their forecast joint deficit is three times more than they recorded last year and is the equivalent of £1.86bn across all 240 English trusts.

Those heading for the biggest losses include Lancashire Teaching Hospitals (projected £52.1m), Mid Essex Hospital Services (£45m) and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals (£43.8m).

The survey did not cover Scotland or Wales, where health is a devolved issue.

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, will claim the survey is fresh proof the NHS is in “grave danger” under David Cameron.

“Today we discover the financial bombshell he has kept hidden away from everyone until now,” Mr Miliband will say. “two-thirds of hospitals face having to make swingeing cuts, not, at some point in the future, but this year because of a cash crisis made in Downing Street.Cameron and Miliband“That will mean staff cut, beds lost and services closed. And it is why we need Labour’s better plan for the NHS – a fully funded plan to get more resources into the NHS  and start turning things around, a real plan with real money for real action right now”

The King’s Fund warned last week that the health service faced its worst funding problems in its recent history. The think tank said it appeared to have overspent its budget by more than £800m in 2014-15 despite receiving emergency Treasury funds. It also found that waiting times at A&E departments were at their longest since 2003.

Mr Cameron declared last week that the health service was “my life’s work” and said: “I profoundly believe that the NHS grows with the conservatives.”

The Conservatives have pledged to find the extra £8bn which Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS England, said hospitals would need by 2020 to cope with the increasing pressures on them.

The television chef Delia Smith yesterday endorsed the Labour party because of its stance on health. “What I believe profoundly, is the party that campaigned for [the NHS] and created it will be the best one to nurture and sustain it for the future,” she said. “We are all fully aware of the strain it’s under, and we each have a duty to do all we can to preserve this most precious asset that makes such a vital contribution to human well-being.

“Oh Mr Cameron! – ‘the NHS grows with the Conservatives’ – unbelievable!!!”