Perran Moon at Treliske Hospital
Perran Moon at Treliske Hospital

Jayne Kirkham, Labour’s candidate for Truro and Falmouth, and Perran Moon, Labour’s candidate for Camborne Redruth Hayle have released data showing the huge numbers of local people stuck on mental health waiting lists, as calls grow for the Government to address their failed handling of mental health services across the country.

Since 2010, the Conservative Government have cut one in four mental health beds across the country, as waiting times for treatment have soared. Across NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board, there were 3480 children on waiting lists in December and 12630 adults. 

Many mental health services are at breaking point after 13 years of Conservative Government – staff are overstretched, and NHS services have been neglected for over a decade. The result is that hundreds of thousands of people are turned away from services without having any treatment. Across NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board in December, 1540 referrals were closed before the patient received any treatment, a staggering number.

Labour have a plan to tackle these problems, by recruiting thousands more mental health staff, guaranteeing treatment within a month, providing access to a mental health professional in every school.

The total per annum cost of Labour mental health policy package by 2028/29 (the last year of Labour’s first term in office) would be an estimated £1.016bn. This will be paid for through the following fiscal measures:

-Scrapping the “carried interest loophole”, a tax loophole enjoyed by a small number of private equity fund managers, which would raise £440 million per annum to fund an expansion in the mental health workforce.

-Levying VAT on private school fees, which would raise £1.7bn per annum in total, £576m of which would be used to fund mental health hubs and specialist mental health support in schools.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, said:  

 “Waiting lists are soaring and patients are left receiving inadequate treatment, all as a result of the Government failing on children’s mental health. 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 are being left to languish in Emergency Departments, instead of receiving appropriate mental health treatment. Mental health services are now on their knees.

“The next Labour Government will prioritise a truly preventative plan for mental health services and will put patient care first. We will ensure access to mental health professionals in every school and put an open access hub in every community, funded by closing tax loopholes. 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.”

Jayne Kirkham, Labour candidate for Truro and Falmouth, said:

“These figures demonstrate just how much our community, and our children, are suffering after 13 years of Conservative government. Children should not be languishing in A&E because they can’t receive treatment in the community.

“Our children deserve better – it’s why the next Labour Government will enshrine a preventative approach to mental health, opening mental health hubs for children and young people and making sure that all of our local schools have access to a mental health professional.”

Perran Moon, Labour candidate for Camborne Redruth Hayle, said:

“The challenges of poor mental health are as acute now as they have ever been. In Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, I’m meeting people of all ages who desperately need some help. Yet, despite the best efforts of our mental health workers, the service is woefully under-resourced and under-prioritised. The human and economic cost of the Conservatives’ failure to support our mental health service is astronomical. A Labour government is committed to transforming mental health services so that here in Cornwall early diagnosis can minimise the impacts and help suffers meet the challenges they face, with the support that they need.”

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