Amanda Hack, the Labour Group leader at Leicestershire County Council, has marked Mental Health Awareness Week by drawing attention to the huge number of local people stuck on mental health waiting lists.
Since 2010, the government has cut one-in-four mental health beds across the country, and waiting times for treatment have soared. Across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland, more than 5,300 children and nearly 44,000 adults were on waiting lists at the end of 2022.
After over a decade of neglect, many mental health services are at breaking point, and staff are overstretched. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people across England are being turned away without treatment. Across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland last year, over 4,000 referrals were closed before the patient received any treatment.
Cllr Hack has met with the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, to discuss Labour’s plans to tackle the problem by recruiting thousands more mental health staff, guaranteeing treatment within a month, and providing access to a mental health professional in every school.
Cllr Amanda Hack said:
“Children are falling back on A&E because of a lack of mental health services. These alarming numbers show how much our community and children are suffering because of Conservative cuts. Children in Leicestershire deserve better – that’s why the next Labour Government will embrace a preventative approach to mental health, opening mental health hubs for children and young people locally and ensuring that all of our local schools have access to a mental health professional.”
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP said:
“Waiting lists are soaring, and once again, it’s the most vulnerable paying the price for the Tories’ shocking neglect. After 13 years of Conservative mismanagement of our NHS, children languish in Emergency Departments instead of receiving the right mental health treatment. Mental health services are now on their knees. The next Labour Government will prioritise preventative mental health services and put patient care first. This is in addition to guaranteeing mental health treatment within a month for all who need it by recruiting thousands of new mental health staff.”