Conservative Manifesto: Mental health

18 May 2017

“We will introduce the first new Mental Health Bill for 30 years, to put parity of esteem at the heart of treatment and end the stigma of mental illness once and for all.”

  • Parity of esteem’ in the NHS means that patients should be able to access services which treat both mental and physical health conditions equally and to the same standard.
  • The independent Mental Health Taskforce said last year that despite a number of steps there was “not yet parity between an individual’s rights to physical and mental health care”.
  • This year it said that there’s a lot to be optimistic about in mental health and that the “infrastructure needed to sustain change has been put in place”, but it’s a long-term project.
  • The Conservatives occasionally claim the government has already introduced parity, including in today’s manifesto. The party has told us previously this refers to the government’s policy of parity of esteem more broadly, rather than any specific action it has taken.
  • The aim for equality between physical and mental health was something that was included in the Coalition’s mental health strategy in 2011, recognised in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and the NHS Constitution in 2015 after the Conservative government came to office. But the idea is something that has been talked about for decades, and there have been efforts to achieve parity of esteem since the 1950s.

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