Government can no longer ‘bury its head in the sand on mental health’, charity warns

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‘With a General Election on the horizon, there is an opportunity for all parties to set out how they plan to tackle the scale of need.’

The economic and social costs of mental health in England soared to £300 billion in 2022, up from £119 billion in 2020, and £77 billion in 2003. This was the finding of new research from the Centre for Mental Health and commissioned by the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network.

The overall costs of mental ill health equate to double the NHS’s entire budget of £153bn in England in 2022. Shockingly, the costs are also similar to the estimated impact of Covid-19 on the UK economy in 2020 (£260bn in 2020 prices).

The economic costs, including unemployment, staff turnover, sickness days and presenteeism, equated to £110bn. The human costs in terms of wellbeing and reduced quality of life, were found to be £130bn, and the health and care costs £60bn.

The authors of The Economic and Social Costs of Mental Ill Health say that the new figures demonstrate the urgent need for action to turn the tide on rising poor mental health. They warn that failing to act could lead to even higher costs that no government can afford to ignore.

Following the publishing of the report, Dr Sarah Hughes, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said that the research adds to the “growing list of evidence showing this crisis is too big to ignore.”

“The government can no longer bury its head in the sand about the need for action.

Continue ReadingGovernment can no longer ‘bury its head in the sand on mental health’, charity warns
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The Labour Party must not follow Tory economic policies

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Image of cash and pre-payment meter key
Image of cash and pre-payment meter key

Labour is counting on the unpopularity of the Conservative Party to catapult it into power but in the absence of specific policies and failure to improve quality of life, electoral goodwill will quickly evaporate.

Labour and Conservatives have become slaves to arbitrary fiscal rules even though they have failed to deliver almost every target relating to economic growth, inflation, public debt, investment and more. Labour emphasises that it wants to reduce the government debt to GDP ratio in five years’ time. However, no rationale is presented for such a straitjacket. No assessment is made of the consequences of removing billions of pounds from the economy. No rationale as to why low debt to GDP ratio is an indicator of the prosperity of a nation and why this should take priority over investment or redistribution. Analogies with household budgets or maxed out credit cards are misleading as governments, especially those with global currencies such as the Pound Sterling, can create money to achieve desired social objectives and levy selective taxation to eliminate inflationary effects. But Labour is no student of the modern monetary theory.

Debt can be used to rebuild the economy even if Labour and Conservatives are hostile to it. The Post-Second World War boom was built upon direct public investment in new industries and social infrastructure. In 1946, public debt stood at over 270% of its GDP. This provided jobs and fuelled demand. It fuelled corporate investment as the state bought goods and services from the private sector. It laid foundations of emerging industries, such as biotechnology, information technology, aerospace and more specially as the private sector showed little appetite for long-term investment and risks. Within a generation, the public debt came down to 49% of GDP and I can’t recall our parents and grandparents fretting about the public debt.

Instead of a dynamic state, both Labour and Conservatives support further cuts in public spending even though that will reduce investment, slow economic growth, and inflict long-term damage. Too many public buildings and schools are crumbling away. The government response is that college spending per student aged 16–18 in 2024 will be 10% below 2010 levels, and about 23% below them for school sixth forms. Since 2010 local council funding has been cut by 23.3% in real terms, leading to degradation of public services and higher council tax on hard-pressed households. Hospitals in England have a waiting list of 7.6m appointments. None of this can be addressed by adherence to arbitrary fiscal rules.

There is a strong case for redistribution of income and wealth, but Hunt and Reeves ignore it even though higher disposable income for the less well-off has a greater multiplier effect. No amount of economic growth can be sustained unless people have good purchasing power to buy goods and services. Both parties reaffirm their faith in trickle-down economics which has seen wealth sucked upwards and prevent economic recovery. The UK has 171 billionaires with combined wealth of £684bn. The richest 1% of the population has more wealth than 70% of the population combined. The richest 10% of households hold 43% of all wealth, and the poorest 50% own just 9%.

Continue ReadingThe Labour Party must not follow Tory economic policies

 Teachers’ union leader slams Government’s ‘absolute failure’ over Britain’s crumbling schools 

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The leader of the UK’s top teachers’ union has ripped into the Government for its “absolute failure” to properly fund schools, following further revelations into the state of Britain’s crumbling classrooms. 

Schools across the country have been struggling to cope with urgent building repairs and mounting maintenance costs, BBC Panorama has been exposing, with schools unable to claim extra money for repairs to tackle leaks and cold. 

Commenting on the latest investigation into the state of British school buildings, Daniel Kebede, who became General Secretary of the National Education Union last year, stressed that the failings lay firmly at the feet of the Government.   

Kebede wrote on X: “Make no mistake this is absolute failure from government.

Continue Reading Teachers’ union leader slams Government’s ‘absolute failure’ over Britain’s crumbling schools 

Southmead Hospital, Bristol is crap

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I suffered a heart attack at 3am on Monday. I initially thought that I had experienced a severe electric shock. I was left disorientated and confused and rang 111 instead of 999. 111 was crap and didn’t call an ambulance. Instead I got a call-back from a woman doctor at about 4.30am. She hadn’t bothered to wake up before calling me. I tired of her being crap and hung-up and blocked her. I tried to make my own way to A&E by bus but tired and went home.

I attended Southmead Hospital A & E at 10.30 on Tuesday. Southmead Hospital was crap and engaged in prejudice, discrimination, abuse and neglect.

Despite having a heart attack at 3am the previous day, Southmead Hospital A & E didn’t even take my pulse for over 3 hours.

I started having chest pains and was afraid that I was going to have another heart attack.

I told a technician in A & E that I was having chest pains. She told me to sit down.

I told a paramedic in A & E that I was having chest pains. She told me to sit down, I would be assessed soon.

I started phoning an ambulance to fetch me from the A & E section of Southmead Hospital when staff eventually started to pay attention to me after 3 hours.

I am very well thank you despite Southmead Hospital.

Continue ReadingSouthmead Hospital, Bristol is crap
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