On 1st July 2019 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care repeated a statement made by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the implementation of the NHS long-term plan. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, as a former member of the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS Committee, I welcome the long-term plan and the Government’s response to it. I am especially glad that mental health issues will achieve financial parity with physical health issues. Does the Minister agree that research into and attention to the causes of these ever-increasing issues is as important as more spending on their treatment?
Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford: As ever, the right reverend Prelate is insightful in his question. He is right that although we have made a lot of progress in improving services, we were coming from a low base. One of the challenges is not understanding why there is such an increase in the challenges we face. This is why the NIHR has dramatically increased the amount of funding it provides to mental health research, and why other important organisations, such as the Wellcome Trust, are prioritising mental health research as a matter of urgency.
Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top (Lab): My Lords, does the Minister recognise that while welcoming the emphasis on mental health—as the right reverend Prelate did—the Women’s Mental Health Taskforce, which reported in December 2018, recognised that more women are becoming the real issue in mental health work, that many more women are presenting, and that many of them, particularly those who have suffered abuse and trauma, require a gendered approached? The Women’s Mental Health Taskforce recognised this as an issue for the workforce and the way women engaged with treatment, particularly that group of women. I recognise that not everything can be reflected in plans, but it would be a tragedy if that message was not communicated to localities and to those providing mental health services. Unless that happens, many women will simply be let down.