Is mental health the poor relation?


Dear Stewart, 

It was good to see Dr Gamell, your Chief Clinical Officer, stressing the importance of good mental health in last weeks Bucks Free Press and explaining what the public, employers and schools could do to improve our mental health. 

However, it would be helpful if Dr Gamell could also explain what her own organisation does to improve our mental health.

As you know, I occasionally read the papers for your Governing Body.  At the moment these make depressing reading with missed targets on waiting times for ambulances to arrive, in A&E, for operations, and for cancer treatment not to mention the financial problems of some of your providers who run our hospitals.  

However, I had been able to find virtually nothing in the papers for meetings of your Governing Body about mental health - even when the scandal involving Southern Health Foundation Trust blew up in the national media.   SHFT, as you know, was shown to have consistently failed to investigate the deaths of people with mental health illnesses or people with learning disabilities.

So in February, I asked, as a freedom of information request, how your Governing Body monitors and evaluates the services it commissions on mental health.   So far, the CCCG has failed to answer my question. 

Dr Gamell says mental health has been a poor relation for far too long.  However, it looks as though this criticism could be aimed at her own Governing Body.  As far as I can see the CCCG’s Governing Body practically ignores mental health issues, although it has picked up this month on the SHFT crisis. 

 But perhaps I am wrong.   In which case, perhaps you could explain: 

-         how much the CCCG spends on mental health provision and what proportion this is of its total spend (even approximately)?

-        how far does the CCCG believe this meets South Bucks needs for mental health provision, particularly in the light of the increase in mental health problems?

 -          who are the CCCG’s providers for mental health and how much does each provider get?

-       what are the providers contracted to provide and what targets are they set (say in waiting times for referral and treatment)?
-          are the targets being met?
-          could this information be broken down for adults and young people/children?

 -          when and how does the Governing Body monitor and evaluate this provision?

Then we would all know if your Governing Body treats mental health as a poor relation or not. 

Yours sincerely

Linda Derrick

Health spokesperson for Wycombe Labour


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