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Lord Patel has called for more support for mental health services

February 9, 2012

In a vote on the government’s NHS reform bill in the Lords, cross-bench peer Lord Patel particularly drew attention to the deleterious effects the bill would have on mental health services; introducing the mental health amendment he said the mental health services were "often neglected when compared to maternity care and cancer treatments".

Government defeated on NHS bill

(UKPA) – 17 hours ago

The Government has suffered a defeat in the House of Lords on its controversial NHS reforms.

Peers voted by 244 to 240, majority four, to emphasise the importance of mental health.

The defeat came on the first amendment as the Health and Social Care Bill began its report stage in the Upper House.

Ministers are braced for a series of showdowns with peers as Labour continues to call for the legislation to be dropped.

Leading doctor Lord Patel introduced the mental health amendment and argued that, though services in the area had improved, they were "often neglected when compared to maternity care and cancer treatments".

The crossbench peer added: "Mental health has never received the funding or attention that it needs. The progress of improving the commissioning of services has been much slower in mental health."

But Health Minister Earl Howe said that, although the Government shared Lord Patel’s desire to give equal weighting to mental and physical illness, his amendment could be "positively unhelpful" in achieving that goal.

Lord Patel’s amendment specifies that the Health Secretary has a duty to promote a comprehensive health service that secures the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of "mental and physical illness" rather than simply "illness" as the Bill originally stated.

The Government defeat came after David Cameron earlier mounted a passionate defence of the coalition’s controversial reforms at Prime Minister’s Questions in the face of attacks from Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

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