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Mental health services ‘a car crash’, Jeremy Hunt driving ‘naming and shaming’ culture, and ‘arrogant and uninformed’ assumptions basis for cuts

Mental health services in the UK have been labelled a ‘car crash’ by the outgoing president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Sue Bailey, who said the health secretary had failed to make them a ‘priority’.

Professor Bailey told the BBC: ‘It’s a car crash, the system is in crisis and we need people to listen.’ She said Jeremy Hunt had visited several hospitals but only a handful of mental health trusts while in power.

Professor Bailey said: ‘He has a basic understanding of [mental health] but whether he takes it seriously, the proof of which would be making it a priority, then sadly not.’

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of driving a ‘naming and shaming’ culture in the NHS after plans for a new ‘disclosure drive’ – to boost error reporting in hospitals – were reported by the Guardian today.

A recent assessment of English hospital trusts found that 21% of trusts were rated poor, indicating they were under reporting incidents, or that staff felt responses to reported incidents weren’t adequate.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Mr Hunt said: ‘We certainly do not want to humiliate anyone. If you have a group of hospitals that do not have the right reporting culture how are you going to change that unless you identity that?’

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter has accused the Government of using the ‘uninformed and arrogant’ assumption that the NHS is inefficient to make cuts and drive privatisation, the Independent reports.

Speaking at the BMA’s annual representatives meeting in Harrogate this week, Dr Porter said that new competition regulations had created a ‘bizarre market culture’ in the NHS and added it had been ‘a bumper year for multinationals’.

Dr Porter said: ‘Do we really want an NHS that is so obsessed with private companies tendering for the work? Or do we want an NHS that is passionate about tending to the weak? It doesn’t have time to be both.’