Dugher calls for action

Pictured Michael Dugher

Pictured Michael Dugher

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A South Yorkshire MP is demanding improved training for GPs and nurses, to help local people with mental health illnesses.

Michael Dugher, Barnsley East MP, is calling on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to act as new figures from mental health charity Mind reveal that just 33 per cent of trainee GPs in Barnsley East had a training placement that gave them mental health experience in 2015.

These figures are well below the national average of 46 per cent of trainee GPs who gained mental health experience on a placement last year. The figures come at a time when spending on mental health care in Barnsley is already well below the national average.

Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group has increased the amount it is spending on mental health this year by just 0.19 per cent, to £33m. This represents 8.09 per cent of Barnsley CCG’s total £408 million budget for this financial year – below the average 9.79 per cent spent on mental health by other CCGs.

Mr Dugher warned that children and young people in Barnsley were also being let down when it comes to the mental health services, with spending on Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services decreasing this year, despite a growing demand for help.

With a third of all GP appointments connected to mental health issues, Mr Dugher said it was vital that more was spent on mental health and that all GPs and practice nurses had improved training to help them support patients.

Mr Dugher said: “Barnsley is already spending significantly less on mental health than other parts of the country which means we are failing some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“People are having to wait far too long to get access in Barnsley to the mental health services they need. That has to change.

“Our doctors and nurses do a fantastic job under immense pressure that has made their work far harder because of Government cutbacks to the NHS and pharmacies budgets. Improved training would give them the confidence to deal with people seeking support.”