Question by Nicholas Soames to the Secretary of State for Health following his Statement on ‘NHS (Five Year Forward View)’.

Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex) (Con): May I report to my right hon. Friend that, despite the dismal rant he heard from the shadow Secretary of State, the Princess Royal hospital in Haywards Heath and the Royal Sussex county hospital in Brighton, and their doctors and nurses, are doing a magnificent job in treating local people? Will he also accept that the problem with mental health services in this country goes back a long way? It will not be fixed overnight. I have had the same problem in my constituency of someone being put in a police cell. The problem fell entirely on the staff of the local trust, who simply did not deal with the matter properly. This is going to take a long time to fix, and I greatly welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement.
The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt): I thank my right hon. Friend for his comment, because the use of police cells is not an issue with which we should be playing party political games. As it happens, their use was much higher under the last Labour Government. We are starting to address that issue, and he is right: even one person spending a night inappropriately in a police cell is one person too many. That is why we are making good progress, but in the end it will require people who purchase health care in local areas to look at people with mental health needs in a holistic way—not just trying to solve issues problem by problem, but looking at and addressing the whole problem and making sure they get the treatment they need.
Monday 1 December, 2014   
Volume 589 
No 71. Col 54