Mental health service closure undermines parity of esteem pledge

Doctors have criticised the ‘short-sighted’ axing of a public mental health service in Surrey – the parliamentary patch of the health secretary and chancellor of the exchequer.

Official papers show that Surrey County Council withdrew the service – which helped residents, communities and local services to improve their understanding of mental health – in April after reductions in previous years had reduced it to the ‘minimum viable level’.

The decision was made despite council documents admitting that the final cut – to the last £335,000 worth of services – would have a ‘negative impact’ on a ‘number of key groups’ at risk because of their race, sexual orientation, age or disability.

Health experts said the decision, which came after a £500,000 cut to substance misuse services and the removal of a £400,000 alcohol advice service in Surrey, would have a short-term and long-term impact on physical and mental health in the area – and would increase costs on public services.

Article from BMA, 6 July 2017