This week I write about my own field of expertise in treating long-term mental illness. This is relevant to Liverpool with the planned opening next weekend of the new 'Clock View' psychiatric unit, to replace outdated facilities in the city (yet another example of Conservative-driven investment in health in Merseyside.)
I support the Royal College of Psychiatrists' "Parity of Esteem" campaign to eliminate the discrepancy between physical and mental healthcare funding. In the last year alone, this government has increased the mental health spend by £120 million. Many NHS trusts across the country are already making significant improvements to the services they offer. With the right leadership, this can be achieved even on a tight budget.
A Conservative government will:
* introduce, for the first time, waiting time standards for two key mental illnesses
* continue to work to ensure that people in crisis are not detained inappropriately in police cells
* invest £150m more over five years to help children with mental health problems - to make sure they receive treatment early, and to prevent their conditions worsening.
Further, only a Conservative government will safeguard our economic future to ensure we can continue to invest in a high quality health service, free at the point of use. I am fully committed to this.
In other good news this week, the claimant count fell by 38% in Garston & Halewood over the last 12 months. Although there are still too many people out of work, it is good news for our area that jobs are being created, and better news still for families that wages are rising faster than inflation, protecting their incomes. I believe we should continue to make sure that being in work always pays off. This is not unconnected to the earlier topic, since those in employment are to a large extent protected from mental ill health, and meaningful employment is hugely beneficial to self-esteem.