Our Crisis service is in crisis. What will you do to improve this service, which should be a lifeline for many families in dire need of assistance?
CONSERVATIVE (The Rt Hon Grant Shapps) –
We agree that crisis care needs to improve which is why we have developed the mental health crisis care concordat. This is a national agreement between services and agencies involved in the care and support of people in crisis. It sets out how organisations will work together better to make sure that people get the help they need when they are having a mental health crisis.
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT (Norman Lamb) –
In government, I have made it a priority to improve crisis care for mental health. For too long, the NHS has prioritised physical health over mental health – and it is completely discriminatory unfair and frankly inhumane that people in a mental health emergency have too often found they can’t get the help they so desperately need. That’s why I established the crisis care concordat and encouraged local areas across the country to sign up to show their commitment – and more importantly – to make sure that processes and protocols are in place so that people in mental health crisis can always get the help they seek.
The Green Party manifesto calls for better crisis care in mental health, as we recognise that delays in getting assessment, treatment or admission in the early stages of a crisis can be very detrimental. The Green Party would ensure that everyone experiencing a mental health crisis, including children and young people, should have safe and speedy access to quality care, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and make sure a mental health bed is available for everyone who needs one within a reasonable distance of their home. We will end the inappropriate use of police cells as ‘places of safety’ for children by next year, and stop the practice completely by the end of the Parliament unless there are very exceptional circumstances. We will also work to reduce the need for crisis care, by making sure people who can get help earlier. Current waiting times for talking therapies are shocking and we will reduce these to a maximum of 28 days. We will also support the ‘Time for Change’ campaign and other programmes which aim to raise awareness, reduce stigma and end the discrimination associated with mental health, which will encourage people to come forward for help and treatment earlier. We are committed to improving mental health care by investing substantially in services and training more staff, and by the end of the next Parliament in 2020 we will reach a point where mental health is on a par with physical health in terms of status and funding.
The crisis in crisis services must be remedied with immediate effect and this will boil down to a lack of funding. Crisis services should be available 24 hours a day and there should be an out of hours helpline for distressed parents to ring for support and advice. This should be staffed by properly paid and trained specialists in post-natal care. Support at night for vulnerable groups of people is lacking and it is of paramount importance that distressed parents have someone to talk to when they are at their most vulnerable.
Again, the integration of public services is a vital step towards making our healthcare system in Wales more efficient in dealing with crises. Working with charities and mental health specialists we would work to improve crisis services and ensure the patient, again, is the focal point. In terms of emergency care, so that more ambulances are available for dispatch and able to release patients into A&E without undue delays, we will increase resources for ambulances and staffing and ensure that there is sufficient emergency care available, including advances practitioners such as nurses and paramedics, to treat people at the scene.