We’re still not talking about it enough. With the successful campaings around IHAT and others, I am all too aware that one of my other ‘key missions’ in this Parliament also has a long way to go. Mental Health.
I’m part of a number of groups in Westminster who are working hard to improve MH provision in our communities. In Plymouth we are transforming our Mental Health provsion though health and well-being hubs, the first of which I remain confident will be on-line this year. I used the opportunity of a Prime Minster’s question to invite the PM to come to Plymouth and see this work, whilst reminding her that parity of esteem – a key promise of this government – means nothing without parity of provision for our Mental Health communities. I look forward to her coming down, hopefully in Mental Health week in May when I hope that Plymouth will take a lead national role.
In other news I am continuing my efforts to visit every school once a year in the Constituency, and have one school a week to London to come and see how Westminster works. I particularly enjoyed visiting the council chamber where I took questions from a group of schools and received coverage here.
The budget was interesting, with the changes in National Insurance contributions dominating the headlines. I was extremely pleased with the Chancellors commitment to social care – £2bn – and so I am very interested to see what will replace the NIC policy to ensure we follow through on this. Social care is a principal social challenge of this parliament – I have campaigned hard on it; we must meet this challenge.
My drop in surgery tour continues; both Transit Way Tesco this morning, and a particularly full afternoon at Southway library. I genuienly enjoy meeting you and hearing about your lives – good and bad. Please do continue to come, if only to say hello. We’ve had some terrific results on individual cases where we have helped directly improve people’s lives – benefits; housing; hospital treatment and financial worries. It is the best part of the job (ok, apart from visiting schools) so please let us help you too.
The rugby is on back to back tomorrow, the last day of the six nations championship. I may be uncontactable for the day.