The Liberal Democrats have today announced that they will add another £1 billion for mental ill health care through putting a penny on income tax. This could equate to approximately £30 million in additional NHS funding in Tunbridge Wells (West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group) and £52.4 million in additional social care funding in Kent. The Liberal Democrats will ring fence £7.5 million of the funding to tackle the historic injustice faced by people with mental ill health.
Last weekend, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb unveiled a Five Point NHS and Care Recovery Plan to increase funding for health and social care services, including a penny on income tax to provide a £6 billion funding boost.
Today the Liberal Democrats announced that they will spend approximately £7.5 million of this extra money would be ring-fenced as dedicated funding for mental health services in West Kent.
This would help to deliver on 12 key priorities, including improving waiting time standards for mental health care on the NHS and providing support for his pregnant women and young people suffering from mental health problems.
The Liberal Democrats will also set out to end the inappropriate use of force against people with mental ill health, end out of area placements for mental health patients and prioritise national action to reduce the number of suicides.
Commenting on the plan, Rachel Sadler, parliamentary candidate, said:
“The Liberal Democrats pledge to spend £7.5 million in West Kent is important as it demonstrates our commitment to ending the historic injustice against people with mental ill health.
"Health, particularly mental health is a key issue on the doorstep. People want action, not just words and the Liberal Democrats neither Labour nor the Conservatives have outlined how they will fund mental health services. .
"We will invest in improving waiting time standards for mental health care in West Kent, end the scandalous use of force against people with mental ill health and prioritise national action to dramatically reduce the number of people who take their own lives.
“The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservatives, and the only party fighting for genuine equality for those who suffer from mental ill health.”
The Liberal Democrats’ 12 priorities for mental health in the next parliament will be as follows:
1. Access and Waiting Time Standards – We will invest in comprehensive access and waiting time standards for mental health care in the NHS.
2. Children and Young People’s Mental Health – We will tackle the growing mental health crisis among children and young people, and ensure timely access to high-quality support.
3. Eating Disorder Services – We will guarantee that children and young people struggling with an eating disorder get fast access to evidence-based treatment, close to home.
4. Maternal mental health – We will transform mental health support for pregnant women, new mothers and those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, and help them get early care when needed.
5. Out of Area Placements – We will end the scandal of people with mental ill health being shunted across the country because there is no support available close to home.
6. Learning Disabilities and Autism – We will ensure that people with learning disabilities and autism are treated with the same dignity, rights and respect that we would demand for anyone else.
7. Stigma and Awareness – We will build on recent progress in tackling the stigma and raising awareness of mental health issues.