by Claire Kelly
So I have been given an opportunity to write a blog for oneinfour. Let me introduce myself; I’m Claire and I’m and 24 and I have bipolar 2.
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to write about in my first blog post. So for me I thought I would start with a topic that is close to my heart, and something that annoys me. I am going to talk about how funds are being cut from the NHS budget, which in turn means that the already struggling mental health system is being put through a press even more.
I know that this is a hard hitting topic and maybe something that you don’t want to talk/think about, I understand that. But it’s such an important thing, that needs to be openly talked about.
In May 2016 the newspaper The Guardian, wrote an article saying that only 55% of mental health trusts had reported increases in funding. Even though in 2012 ‘parity of esteem’ with physical health had been promised by our government.
It’s believed that the NHS are not passing money on to the mental health departments.
Before I continue, this is not me wanting to bash the NHS, because I love the NHS and am very proud of what they achieve under the pressures it faces. However, in my area (Cambridgeshire) the mental health teams are doing as much as they can but with very limited resources.
According to the article in The Guardian, it says ‘mental ill-health accounts for 28% of the total burden of disease, it gets just 13% of the NHS’s budget.’ To me this statistic is shocking, but from personal experience also very understandable.
Politicians and NHS trusts are at war over funding whilst fighting with the GMC and the junior doctors for fair contracts. This means that there is very little evidence to be seen about what is happening with the funding.
I recently moved into Cambridgeshire from Suffolk and have been fortunate enough to be seen by both mental health services. In Suffolk I was initially diagnosed with bipolar, and it took a total of nearly 4 months of assessment and appointments before being diagnosed. Which even though was incredibly hard, I don’t think it was that bad. Now I live in Cambridgeshire, I was admitted to hospital due to ill health and was advised that I would be seeing the community mental health as a matter of urgency, well that was the 8th November, and I have an appointment for the 12th December. Which I know doesn’t feel like that long of a wait, but for someone who is mentally ill and struggling such a long wait feels like a lifetime. And I have no doubt in my mind that this is due to limited funding and also the amount of patients the service need to see.
So I have one question, why is something so important not getting the much needed funding?