Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt admits false claims over mental health

From Channel 4 News: The Tory health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been forced to re-write parliamentary records after making a false claim about mental health.

Speaking on World Mental Health Day, he told MPs: “We’ve got 30,000 more people working in mental health today than we had when [Labour] left office.”

He repeated this again, saying: “We have 30,000 more professionals working in mental health than when my Government came into office.”

But when questioned by FactCheck, the Department for Health admitted that Mr Hunt’s figure includes all professionally qualified clinical NHS staff in England – not just those working in mental health.

They said the official transcript of parliamentary businesses will be edited to rectify this.

The Department for Health told FactCheck: “This was an error and we will be correcting Hansard accordingly.”

In March 2017, there were 79,985 full-time equivalent people working in these areas. That compares to 79,293 in March 2010, when the Conservatives came into government.

That’s an increase of just 692 people – 0.87 per cent over seven years. In contrast, Mr Hunt incorrectly claimed that the numbers were more than 43 times higher than this.

What’s more, although there has been a small increase in mental health staffing overall, this has largely been driven by an expansion in psychotherapy. Most other areas have seen staff numbers fall or stay the same.

Most notably, mental health nurse levels have dropped by more than 5,000 since 2010.

[Read full article on Channel 4 News website…]