MP attacks plans for mental health budget

PUBLISHED: 12:26 27 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

MP Oliver Heald has attacked the Government s decision to cut Hertfordshire s mental health budget. Speaking during a Commons debate, Mr Heald claimed that mental health cuts would lead to more sufferers becoming acutely unwell . He said: Hertfordshir

MP Oliver Heald has attacked the Government's decision to cut Hertfordshire's mental health budget.

Speaking during a Commons debate, Mr Heald claimed that mental health cuts would lead to more sufferers becoming "acutely unwell".

He said: "Hertfordshire mental health sufferers and their families should not be the victims of the Government's financial chaos within the NHS.

"It is an attack on the most vulnerable people in our society," he said.

The debate was initiated after the county's mental health service had £5 million cut from its budget, despite remaining within its budget for the last four years.

The move is part of a countrywide Government strategy, that has seen £16 million cut from the mental health service in a bid to reduce an estimated £100 million deficit.

The North East Herts MP said this would also mean cuts in community services, psychological services and would affect the early treatment of severe mental illness.

Last month, Mr Heald appealed to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to protect the mentally ill.

He also visited Brickfield Cottage in Buntingford, a residential care home for people with learning disabilities and challenging needs.

He said: "I have always taken a great interest in mental health and over the years I have been shocked by the low priority that it has been given.

"The Government promised that it would be a top priority, yet all over the country we are seeing substantial cuts in mental health services," he said.

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