Campaign to ensure mental health given parity within NHS

Paul McGarry
Paul McGarry

A campaign has been launched by the Liberal Democrats calling for parity between mental health and other services of the NHS.

Paul McGarry, the party’s lead Central Scotland list candidate, is concerned mental health is slipping off the priorities radar.

He published a picture on his Facebook page showing just eight MPs, five Conservative and three Lib Dems, attending an adjournment debate on mental health.

Paul said: “Some have sought to excuse their non-attendance by pointing out it was an adjournment debate, however recent debates on other aspects of the health service, or debates on future runways have had a far greater attendance.

“It remains my opinion that if the debate is about mental health then it is important and the attendance of our MPs is the very least the electorate can expect.”

The Facebook post was viewed by over five million people across the UK with over one million commenting, liking or sharing it.

It also prompted hundreds of constituents to contact their local MPs asking for them to attend an upcoming debate calling on equality in mental health services.

Over 80 MPs did attend and although the Lib Dems and Labour supported the motion it was defeated with the Conservatives voting against and the SNP registering no vote.

Paul said: “I am immensely disappointed that the vote was lost. Particularly as there were passionate speeches from a number of Conservative and SNP MPs, that they would not back this for what appeared to be partisan reasons.”

A petition set up by Paul and Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume calling for equality in mental health services with all other health services has now received almost 6,000 signatures.