What UK Government is thinking

Government bids to give people with mental health problems more treatment choice

People with mental health problems are being promised more choice over their treatment.

The Department of Health has launched a strategy to provide more local mental health service choice in England. It is in line with the government’s agenda to enable more “choice” in health services generally.

The strategy, in the form of a new “national framework”, includes advice to professionals on how they can extend mental health service choices, as well as advice to service users and carers on the kind of choices they should expect.

But a Rethink charity spokeswoman questioned whether the ideas of the national framework will ever be brought to practice.

“Cuts to mental health budgets have reduced people’s choices, and the very basics of what should be available according to Nice [National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence] guidelines aren’t available in many areas,” she said.

“A principle of choice is good news, but we need reality.”

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