Tom Brake MP and Norman Lamb MP, Health Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats have strongly condemned news that indebted people are being charged up to £150 in return for letters confirming they are suffering from mental health conditions.
In news that Lamb has called an “outrage”, research from Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has revealed that one in three people who ask for the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form to give to creditors are being charged. This has resulted in vulnerable people either pushing themselves further into debt or indeed going without crucial support.
Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb said:
“It simply should not be the case that GPs are charging patients for letters to confirm that they are suffering from mental ill health.
It is an outrage and shows the Government must simply ban the practice – this is not something that should be left to vary from surgery to surgery or from postcode to postcode."
Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington added:
“In government, Norman and the Liberal Democrats fought strongly to try and guarantee parity between treatment of mental and physical health issues, but this latest embarrassment shows the government still have a long way to go before that is achieved. I was shocked by this recent news and it is clear that we are still far from treating mental health issues with the seriousness and respect we treat physical health.
We must achieve comprehensive waiting time limits for mental health treatments and I am calling on the government to get its’ act together and implement Norman Lamb’s proposal for a cross-party commission to secure a new deal for the NHS.”
Tom has written to the Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group which organises care in Sutton to ask whether GPs charge patients in Sutton for these letters.