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Have we missed the point on mental health ‘reforms’?

The public reaction to Rishi Sunak’s ‘fit note’ plans has been overwhelmingly negative – in line with This Site. But have we missed the point on mental health ‘reforms’?

Here are just a few of the responses after the prime minister announced that he wanted to take the issuing of fit/sick notes away from doctors because he thinks GPs are signing people off work when their only ailments are the normal worries of life:

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But have we missed the point on mental health ‘reforms’?

I was discussing this issue yesterday with a person who works in the mental health system (it’s the reason there weren’t many new articles on April 19, 2024), and he provided a different perspective:

GPs are under pressure to provide medical solutions when patients come to them saying they have mental health problems – even if those problems are results of societal or personal issues. And they only have a nine-minute consultation time in which to make a decision.

Many so-called mental health problems may indeed be results of the way a patient has been running their own personal life – but nobody wants to hear that, because it puts the onus on them to change their ways.

And many of them may be the results of the way society has been structured, putting increased pressure on each of us – when many of us are ill-equipped to cope.

If a GP tells the person sitting in front of them in an aggravated state that their “illness” is nothing more than an ordinary element of everyday life now, then they could be undermining public confidence in them – but if they don’t, then they could be putting pressure on a health service that is already at the point of collapse because of Tory cuts.

It’s a Catch-22.

Ultimately, though, Sunak’s Tory government – along with those we’ve had since 2010 – still bears responsibility for creating its own problem by running down all the services that have helped people to cope – and by ramping up stress for millions of their fellow UK citizens.

And there is no reason to believe that this perceived attack on both GPs and people with mental illnesses – because many with genuine problems will suffer if decisions on whether to sign them off work are handed to know-nothing employees of private contractors who’ve been given a quota to fill and a tick-box assessment system – isn’t part of a wider attack on UK society:

So, have we missed the point on mental health ‘reforms’?

Or has Rishi Sunak found a plausible excuse to inflict further harm on people his government’s policies have already attacked?

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One Comment

  1. Paul Billanie April 20, 2024 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Some of the issues are from every day life struggles,bills, debts etc. However that doesn’t make the help the people need any less. IF however fair wages were paid and not frozen and a real living wage…not the renamed minimum were paid, for some those pressures would be eased and although might not totally disappear would certainly help with their worries, although some may have developed further health problems depending on how long they have been struggling as well.

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