Mental Health Patients gets choice of referral

Patients with mental health problems are to be offered a choice of providers and named professionals when they are referred for further treatment by a GP, the government has announced. It is part of the Department of Health’s aims to ensure issues like depression are viewed with the same sense of importance as physical ailments.

A legal right to choose the organisation that supplies NHS care will therefore be provided under the NHS Constitution – although some exemptions will apply, for example, when someone needs emergency care under the Mental Health Act 1983, Pulse reports.

Also revealed in the report ‘Closing the gap: priorities for essential change in mental health’ was the fact that national standards on waiting times for referrals to mental health services are to be brought in next year.

“Nothing less than true parity of esteem must be our goal. We have to challenge the NHS to join up care – to treat the whole person, not just the mental health problem, and make every service as good as the best,” said health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Society’s is a member of the ‘We need to talk’ coalition that believe in the effectiveness psychological therapy and supports the call for NHS England to offer a full range of evidence-based psychological therapies to all who need them within 28 days of requesting a referral.

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