Former U.K. Health Secretaries Jointly Slam Inadequate Provision for Mentally Ill

Andy
Andy Burnham in Liverpool, England, September 28. Burnham was one of nine former U.K. health secretaries who put their names to a letter decrying the current state of provisions for the mentally ill. Leon Neal/Getty

An open letter criticizing the British government over the "enduring injustice" of inadequate mental healthcare across the country has been signed by every former U.K. health secretary from the last 20 years.

Conservative's Lord Lansley, Stephen Dorrell and Kenneth Clarke joined forces with Labour's Andy Burnham, Alan Johnson, Patricia Hewitt, John Reid, Alan Milburn and Frank Dobson in signing a letter to The Times.

They lament that, despite the Conservative's 2015 promise of "parity of esteem" for mental and physical health, the crisis is not being addressed.

"Despite the warm words, one year on we see the same enduring injustice, the massive economic cost and the distress suffered by countless families across the country," the letter reads.

"Despite promised increases in funding, mental health trusts are still suffering cuts. Suicide remains the biggest killer of men under 45, people in crisis are still routinely shunted across the country in search of a hospital bed, children with eating disorders are too often turned away from services, and there is a growing mental health crisis among young women.

"We are alarmed and dismayed that so many of these points echo those made a year ago when promises of real change were made by David Cameron and George Osborne. We urge their successors to make good the promise of genuine equality."

Two former NHS chief executives, David Nicholson and Nigel Crisp, Tory MP Andrew Mitchell and Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb also added their names to the letter.