No10 to unveil £150m funding for mental health services amid A&E strikes

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street for his first Prime Minister's Questions on October 26, 2022 in London, England. It was Mr Sunak's first Prime Minister's Questions since taking office yesterday, following the resignation of Liz Truss. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

RISHI Sunak and Health Sec Steve Barclay will unveil £150million of cash for mental health today to try to ease pressure on A&Es – as ambulance drivers strike again.

Patients in need of mental health rather than physical care are a major contribution to the pressure on hospital emergency units and ambulances.

Rishi Sunak will unveil £150m funding for mental health funding

Health Secretary Steve Barclay insisted he has had ‘constructive talks’ with unions amid A&E strikes

They say the funding will be used to open 150 new facilities to support mental health urgent and emergency care services with 100 new specialist mental health ambulances funded over the next two years.

Last night the PM said: “People in mental health crisis deserve compassionate care in a safe and appropriate setting. Too often, they end up in A&E when they should be receiving specialist treatment elsewhere.

“This important funding will make sure they get the help they need, while easing pressures on emergency departments and freeing up staff time – which is a huge priority for the government this winter.”

The cash came as the unions upped their attacks on the Government, accusing them of lying and a secret plot to privatise the NHS.

The Health Secretary insisted he has had “constructive talks” with unions after one leader accused the Government of not being an honest negotiating partner.

Steve Barclay said further strike action by ambulance workers this week is “hugely disappointing” and will “inevitably” cause disruption to healthcare.

Thousands of members of Unison, Unite and the GMB unions are set to walk out across England and Wales on Monday as part of continued industrial action in the health service.

Up to 15,000 Unison ambulance workers will strike for the third time in five weeks and will be joined by 5,000 of their NHS colleagues at two hospital trusts in Liverpool.

But yesterday Unite’s Sharon Graham accused the Government of either being incompetent when it comes to negotiations, or wanting to privatise the NHS.

She added: “There is something unusual going on here that they will not come to the table. There are choices that can be made that means we can pay for this.

“There is not a problem about paying, we’re the fifth richest country in the world. There is something going on here.

Otherwise they are at a level of incompetence not known because it’s unreal.”

Ms Graham went on to accuse ministers of “lying” and not being “an honest partner at the other side of the table”.

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