Q. What inspired to you to develop an interest in mental health as a GP?
I was inspired to develop an interest in mental health as a GP because early in my career I realised that this was the group of patients I clearly felt most empathy with and wanted to help as best I could. I felt that they are often the most disadvantaged in our society. When suffering from severe and enduring mental illness patients often were not treated like patients with other chronic illnesses and I felt that this was wrong and wanted to help to change that.
What is my opinion of New Labour’s record in Government re mental health?
Their record is difficult for me to take too seriously as there are often grand announcements of new initiatives which often do not amount to much because of the detail revealing that there is no new funding; for example and that any spending has to be made out of savings .I also have a sense that their policies in mental health have not respected the holistic approach to the users.
Q.The Homeless charity Crisis highlighted the growing problem of mental ill-health amongst the single homeless.What needs to be done?
In my opinion we need an increase in support services including more credit union help for those in financial difficulties and better access to appropriate psychological services (without waiting lists)to address mental health need in this group of vulnerable people (which also include many ex servicemen/women).
Q.Organisations such as church action on poverty and Joseph row tree foundation have highlighted under New Labour the increase in social inequalities and in my opinion what needs to happen?
We need to promote opportunities for people to fulfil their potential; key areas to tackle being the inequalities in educational provision and the lack of affordable housing stock (including the shameful amount of empty houses+flats in the UK).
Q.what is my view on the Labour government’s move to a marketised ,atomised model for social care services with the need for social inclusion and cohesion?
I would you refer you to my answer about your question about Labour’s record in government re mental health; the detail is what will define this to being anything more than rhetoric and of course the funding.
Q.what would a perfect mental health service look like?
It would lead on prevention. It would specifically be able to influence the NHS and Government both locally and nationally about enhancing mental wellbeing. It would be able to help end predudice,descrimination and stigmatisation in society and the workplace. The service would be user friendly; user accessible and offer evidence based holistic care .The perfect mental health service would be seen as a priority for our society.
Q.How did you feel about recently winning a walk of thanks award from the service users?
Happy and honoured; it reflects well on the team I work with.