Reacting to the UK health secretary’s announcement on mental health services today, UNISON Cymru/Wales accused the government of pursuing an unrealistic strategy. The trade union also said Jeremy Hunt MP was blind to the fact that the Conservative government’s own policies have had a detrimental effect on many people’s mental health.
Carmen Bezzina, UNISON organiser said,
“Action on mental health is to be welcomed but there are gaping holes in the government’s strategy. There’s nothing there about tackling the stigma of mental health in the workplace or serving notice on bad employers who treat staff differently due to their mental health. Mental health services are in crisis now and people have to wait months to access support.
“There is no awareness from Jeremy Hunt that Conservative policies over the past seven years have harmed people. Benefit cuts have caused terrible stress for families and forced people into poverty and to rely on food banks. In public services the government has made savage cuts to spending disregarding the community support services that are forced to close as a result. We’ve lost 25,000 jobs in Welsh local government services thanks to the Tories; for the staff who remain there is intolerable pressure to do more with less and keep services running.
“The government’s public services pay cap has made working in the NHS much less attractive and healthcare workers struggle to meet rising living costs. Recruiting thousands of mental health nurses in this climate just doesn’t appear credible.
“We want the government to be more honest and committed in its approach to tackling mental health problems.”
Notes to editors
UNISON Cymru/Wales has worked with Mind Cymru and Time to Change Wales to increase mental health awareness and initiated a pioneering campaign in Welsh workplaces to help colleagues with a mental health illness, with the introduction of mental health champions.
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397