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Growing Mental Health Waitlists in Dorset

Updated: May 31, 2023


17 May 2023

Jessica Toale, Labour's candidate for Bournemouth West, has released data showing the huge numbers of local people stuck on mental health waiting lists, as calls grow for the Government to address their failed handling of mental health services across the country.

Since 2010, the Conservative Government have cut one-in-four mental health beds across the country, as waiting times for treatment have soared. Across NHS Dorset Integrated Care Board, there were 3795 children on waiting lists in December and 15035 adults.

Many mental health services are at breaking point after 13 years of Conservative Government – staff are overstretched, and NHS services have been neglected for over a decade. The result is that hundreds of thousands of people are turned away from services without having any treatment. Across NHS Dorset Integrated Care Board in December, 4235 referrals were closed before the patient received any treatment, a staggering number.

Labour have a plan to tackle these problems, by recruiting thousands more mental health staff, guaranteeing treatment within a month, providing access to a mental health professional in every school.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, said:

“Waiting lists are soaring and patients are left receiving inadequate treatment, all as a result of the Government failing on children’s mental health. Once again, it’s the most vulnerable paying the price for the Tories’ shocking neglect.

“After 13 years of Conservative mismanagement of our NHS, children are being left to languish in Emergency Departments, instead of receiving appropriate mental health treatment. Mental health services are now on their knees.

“The next Labour Government will prioritise a truly preventative plan for mental health services and will put patient care first. We will ensure access to mental health professionals in every school and put an open access hub in every community, funded by closing tax loopholes. This is in addition to guaranteeing mental health treatment within a month for all who need it, by recruiting thousands of new mental health staff.”

Jessica Toale, Labour candidate for Bournemouth West, said:

"These figures demonstrate just how much our community, and our children, are suffering after 13 years of Conservative government. Children should not be languishing in A&E because they can't receive treatment in the community.

"Our children deserve better – it's why the next Labour Government will enshrine a preventative approach to mental health, opening mental health hubs for children and young people locally and making sure that all of our local schools have access to a mental health professional."


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Notes to editors:

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- Scrapping the “carried interest loophole”, a tax loophole enjoyed by a small number of private equity fund managers, which would raise £440 million per annum to fund an expansion in the mental health workforce.

- Levying VAT on private school fees, which would raise £1.7bn per annum in total, £576m of which would be used to fund mental health hubs and specialist mental health support in schools.

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