Jeremy Hunt's new mental health funding doesn't go far enough

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Monday 31 July 2017 17:35 BST
Jeremy Hunt just announced funding to train 21,000 new mental health practitioners
Jeremy Hunt just announced funding to train 21,000 new mental health practitioners (Getty Images)

Welcome as the announcement of funding for 21,000 new posts in mental health is, the devil, as always, is in the detail. The numbers involved are impressive but they don't really tell the full story of what is needed nor the realities of ensuring that we have enough of the right sort and number of professionals being trained to fill the positions that are being funded.

The training for child psychotherapists has been under severe pressure and uncertainty for the last few years and we urgently need commitment and clarity from the Government on support for training over the next five to 10 years if we are to have enough trained professionals to take up some of the new posts announced this morning. Child and adolescent psychotherapists are a particularly important part of mental health services for helping children dealing with the most complex mental health problems. This new funding could make a fundamental difference to the lives of so many of those children and their families who currently struggle to find the right support for them, which is why it is so important that we allocate this new funding in the most effective way.

Heather Stewart, The Association of Child Psychotherapists
London SE1

How can anyone think Brexit is what war heroes would have wanted?

Having read your report and watched the moving memorial service and superbly managed commemoration events for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres, one wonders if when attending the service, May recognised the irony and hypocrisy of her Government's position in leaving the EU? The UK entered WW1 to protect Belgium and secure peace and security for Europe.

Is isolating itself from Europe what all those who fought and the hundreds of thousands from the UK and commonwealth who died in both world wars were focused on?

Weren't they seeking peace, security and opportunity for their families, recognising that only a united approach to aggression and unbridled nationalism would achieve victory?

After two global wars and millennia of European conflicts with millions of deaths, a key rationale for the founding of the EU was to prevent further conflicts in Europe; on which it has delivered.

Now May, supported by Corbyn, seeks to take us into a Brexit abyss based on a narrow vote in an advisory referendum with false promises, no coherent plan and voted for by only 37 per cent of those entitled to vote.

Hardly a fitting testament or legacy to the bravery and fortitude of those who fought so bravely a century ago.

L N Price

How is it that while remembering the dead of Passchendaele we forget that the European Union was created to try to prevent the repetition of such slaughter? How long will it be before history repeats itself?

John Wilkin
Bury St Edmunds

As a nephew, named after a DFC RAF hero who lies with companions in a German war cemetery, I am deeply resentful of comments that Brexit is something he would have approved of.

My uncle volunteered in September 1939 to fight for freedom and justice. He did not fight for an insular xenophobic society.

In my family we revere his memory and that of the 56,000 fallen from Bomber Command. The rhetoric and general tone of the Brexit campaign, and its lying leaders, does a disservice to the idealism of all those young men who fought and died for a better world.

John C McAllister
Address supplied

A majority nonetheless

Here we go again, slender majority, slim majority…. but a majority nonetheless. I wonder if those who are calling for a second referendum or for the Government to “do something” would be quite so keen had we (yes I’m a Remainer) won the argument by the same majority and the Brexiteers wanted a second bite of the cherry?

Mark Thomas

Brexit voters knew what they were doing

How can your correspondents claim that people were not aware of the issues when they voted to leave the EU?

The government spent nearly £10 million distributing a booklet to 27 million households.

You didn't have to open it to get the message.

It was helpfully titled "Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the EU is the best decision for the UK".

All the warnings were there: increasing prices, falling living standards, job losses, leaving the single market, the falling pound, and so on.

A majority of voters simply decided that the advantages (sovereignty, control of laws and borders) outweighed the well-rehearsed disadvantages and went for Brexit.

Dr John Doherty
Vienna, Austria

Energy policies are a shambles

I recall President Reagan’s claim that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I'm from the Government and I'm here to help” whenever I hear of a new energy "policy".

The UK Government’s decision to follow the French energy minister and ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040 is but the latest piece of dystopian green nonsense.

Our energy policy is a total mess: decarbonisation has been pursued to the point of lunacy with “alarmist” ideology trumping affordability, reliability and security at every turn. Nigel Lawson’s liberalised energy markets were undermined by a series of policy interventions culminating in that crony-capitalist’s dream, the 2008 Climate Change Act

Holyrood ignored its first scientific adviser Prof Wilson Sibbett and wrecked Scotland’s iconic scenery with wind farms whose subsidies were paid from the poor to the rich. Sibbett warned that the shale gas and oil revolutions had changed everything but Alex Salmond, in thrall to peak-oil and “sustainability”, insisted North Sea oil would stay at $100 per barrel.

Rev Dr John Cameron
St Andrews

Always listen to your doctor

We welcome the debate sparked by the article “Completing antibiotic courses is a medical advice myth that may make bacterial resistance worse, say scientists”. The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) is keen to safely reduce the overall use of antibiotics, given that “overuse” is helping to drive the alarming rise in so-called superbugs. We, like others, suspect that a significant number of antibiotics are being prescribed for longer than is necessary. However, the idea that patients should stop taking antibiotics “when they feel better” is too subjective and risks treatment failure or relapse. Most patients simply will not know if the cause of their infection has been eradicated – or not. Two things need to happen urgently: the first being research to identify all those infections that do not need to be treated with antibiotics, and the second being research into the most effective length of treatment for those infections that do.

For these reasons, we cannot currently support dropping the message “complete the course of antibiotics” because the evidence in support of it is sparse and the advice is potentially confusing. We also need a robust assessment of the harm that stopping antibiotics early might cause in higher risk or vulnerable patients. Doctors and patients should always discuss the pros and cons of antibiotics and, if prescribed, what course length is appropriate. For that reason, BSAC recommends that the message to the public should remain: “Follow the advice of the healthcare professional”.

British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC)

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