Success: local Mental Health budget set to rise

Mental Health budget protestWe’ve learnt through York MIND and others that local health bosses Vale of York CCG intend to increase spending on mental health in our area by 3% next year! A month ago, members of York People’s Assembly and Defend Our NHS York lobbied the CCG, demanding better mental health services, and we’ve put them on the back foot!

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York People’s Assembly member Gwen writes “the local Defend Our NHS has continually asked questions about Mental health provision in York and have actively lobbied and protested about the disgraceful lack of such provision in York. I am pleased that at the recent CCG governing body meeting a commitment was given to 3% more funding for mental health, and more. I hope the pressure that we and others have put on the CCG has helped and we will be watching developments carefully to ensure that promises are kept.”

A 3% increase might sound tiny, but its the opposite of what is happening elsewhere. Since the last election, mental health budgets across the NHS have fallen each year. We’ve reversed that trend in York, even if only for one year. Its a small, but very real victory for everyone’s efforts. As well as the obvious practical difference, its shown we can turn around the terms of a debate, from scarcity and cuts to finding the money to provide better resourced public services. Well done!

It’s also clear that Hugh Bayley MP has been hearing the message loud and clear. In his most recent email bulletin to constituents he wrote: “A number of patients have been referred by their doctor for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) but have not been treated because of the long waiting list – generally 17 months.”

This victory has not ended austerity, nor has it won a future for comprehensive healthcare which is free from profit and free at the point of use. But what it clearly shows is that, by uniting together and raising our voices, we can achieve change. Whether in the street, CCG meetings or the media, members of York People’s Assembly, Defend Our NHS York, charities like York MIND and individual service users have created meaningful change for the people of York and the surrounding areas. Well done!

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