The organisation representing NHS serviceprovider

first_imgThe organisation representing NHS service-providers has called on the government to act on the links between mental distress and cuts to benefits, after producing new evidence showing that social security reform has increased demand for mental health services.NHSProviders spoke out after publishing research showing that more than nine outof ten (92 per cent) mental health trusts that took part in a survey saidchanges to benefits were increasing demand for mental health services.And more thansix in 10 (63 per cent) said this impact was high, making it the mostsignificant economic and social factor in increasing demand for mental healthservices.The NHSProviders report includes a detailed case study of a disabled woman whodescribes how the process of applying for employment and support allowance (ESA)was so stressful that it caused a relapse in her mental health.The formermental health nurse told NHS Providers that the ESA process and its repeatedassessments were “cruel” and left her feeling powerless, while the workcapability assessment process was “the biggest source of worry in my life”. The report, Addressing the Care Deficit, adds to evidence that shows ESArecipients are at particularly high risk of suicide attempts.DisabilityNews Service (DNS) has repeatedly drawn the attention of government departmentsand other public bodies to the findings of NHS Digital’s Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, which showed that more than 43 percent of ESA claimants had said (when asked in 2014) that they had attemptedsuicide at some point in their lives, compared with about seven per cent of non-ESA claimants.Despite thatevidence, the Cross-Government SuicidePrevention Workplandoes not mention DWP, benefits, ESA or universal credit, while ESA anduniversal credit claimants are not included among the high-risk groupsmentioned in the workplan.Thegovernment has also refused to name ESA claimants as a high-risk group in itscross-government suicide prevention strategy.PublicHealth England is another organisation that has resisted making this link. Inthe latest update of its Suicide Prevention Profile, there are 25 risk factorsfor suicide but they do not include the proportion of the population in localareas that claims ESA.NHSProviders has now called on the government and its arms-length bodies to act.SaffronCordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, told DNS: “Our report… revealeddeep disquiet among mental health trust leaders about the impact of benefitscuts and universal credit on demand for mental health services. “Thegovernment and its arms-length bodies should examine the evidence behind thislink, and act on it.“We need abenefits system that offers the right support for people who need it, ratherthan compounding or aggravating mental health problems.”Samaritans can be contacted free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.orgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img

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