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”

Extra 5,000 GPs – A Tory pipedream?

Tory health chief Jeremy Hunt has been accused of backtracking on his pre-election pledge to recruit 5,000 GPs by 2020.

He made the vow in the run-up to May 7 but last week stated the plan would need some flexibility because of difficulties recruiting trainee family doctors in some areas of the country.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, of the British Medical Association, said: “Delivering 5,000 extra GPs in five years, when the training of a GP takes 10 years, was never going to be achieved.”

Dr Chaang NagpaulDr Chaang Nagpaul

He had already warned the government is likely to ‘fail dismally’ in its election pledge to recruit 5,000 extra doctors.

The problem is ‘not just a perfect storm, but an absolute hurricane’ as he and his over-stretched colleagues are ‘fundamentally paying the price of years of Government neglect and progressive de-funding of general practice’.

In a speech to GPs at the annual Local Medical Committee (LMC) conference in London, Dr Nagpaul said this ‘unashamed starvation of general practice has come as GPs have taken on the greatest growth in volume of care compared to any other sector in the NHS, seeing an estimated 40 million more patients annually compared to five years ago’.

He said the problem is only set to get worse with the rapidly-ageing population meaning there will be an estimated one million more patients who will have three or more long-term medical conditions in a decade.

Criticising the Tories’ pledge to create a seven-days-a-week service, he said: ‘This is not just a perfect storm, but an absolute hurricane. And a hurricane that will destroy the whole fabric of the NHS if the Government does not act swiftly, since if its foundation that’s general practice collapses, everything above it collapses too.

‘Now the election is out of the way, I call upon the Prime Minister to jettison the political pipedreams of tomorrow and get real about how we resource, resuscitate and rebuild general practice today.

‘It’s absolutely pointless promising 5,000 extra GPs within this parliament if we lose 10,000 GPs retiring in the same period.’

” How did we end up with this situation? – The answer is obvious, and the  question is so hackneyed, but so applicable as healthcare in the UK stays in crisis”