This week the shocking news that the NHS continues to fail those most at risk in society has been once more laid bare.
Despite five years and promises of billions of pounds and hours of extra staff results for people with mental health problems, has got worse not better; even more worrying there is no sign of improvement.
More people than ever remain in high risk assessment units, more children are being separated from their parents as they are sent miles from home for treatment, pregnant women and young mothers are at risk and suicides are increasing daily.
What is lost in the furore and statistics is that each suicide is a person, every child travelling miles from their parents for treatment is a young person, every expectant mother or post partum woman is a parent. Around each individual is a network of other people in pain at the anguish and suffering their one is experiencing. It is a ripple effect that is touching every strata of society. It is up to us as health professionals to change things.
In any other context it would suggest a third world nation with no national health service, never mind one that is approaching middle age and should have taken on board years of experience to be a mature service that delivers.
To pore over the figures in minute detail is to avoid the central issue – the time to talk about improving mental health is over. Medical professionals must come together and prove once and for all that they have the best interests of the people we all serve at heart and make a public commitment to change things.
ubu has a well-documented record of fighting for the rights of people with mental health issues whether or not we directly support them. We have long campaigned for the closure of high risk assessment units, demanded all people are treated close to their loved ones, not just children and demanded parity of care for physical and mental health.
Now we are calling on fellow professionals to join us in publicly demanding humane outcomes in real time with ring fenced funding, ensuring meaningful action happens and, most importantly there is accountability with people being held responsible to succeed.
This continued failure to achieve better lives for those most vulnerable in society must stop. Throwing good money after bad in a cash strapped NHS must end. The way forward must involve everyone to up their game and ask what they can do to change one life for the better?
The politicians can only take their steer from us the experts in the field, so it is incumbent upon us to tell them how the money can be best spent and what they must do to make things better for the people at risk.
This time we cannot even contemplate failure.
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