Mental health epidemic is being fuelled by long waits for GP and hospital appointments, figures suggest

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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A mental health epidemic is being fuelled by long waits for GP and hospital appointments, official figures suggest.

In a survey of 12,000 Britons, a quarter reported poor mental health as a result of delays.

Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey said the Government’s ‘failure to tackle agonising waits for NHS treatment is creating a mental health epidemic’.

‘Millions of people are struggling to see their GP or waiting months for hospital treatment because ministers have driven local health services into the ground,’ he added.

A further 18 per cent of those surveyed by the Office for National Statistics said hold-ups had affected their physical health. 

Last month, NHS England also revealed 7.61million treatments were waiting to be carried out in November 2023, relating to 6.39million patients.

Figures suggest long waits for hospital and doctors appointments are contributing to a mental health epidemic

A quarter of Britons in a survey of 12,000 reported mental health problems as a result of GP and hospital delays

A quarter of Britons in a survey of 12,000 reported mental health problems as a result of GP and hospital delays

NHS England also revealed 7.61million treatments were waiting to be carried out in November 2023

NHS England also revealed 7.61million treatments were waiting to be carried out in November 2023

Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey said the Government's 'failure to tackle agonising waits for NHS treatment was creating a 'mental health epidemic'

Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey said the Government’s ‘failure to tackle agonising waits for NHS treatment was creating a ‘mental health epidemic’

A falling number of family doctors combined with a growing and ageing population means patients are scrambling for appointments, with many waiting weeks to be seen.

Sir Ed added: ‘People are being left worried sick because they and their loved ones simply can’t access the healthcare they so desperately need.’

But Conservative mental health minister Maria Caulfield accused the Lib Dems of ‘sniping from the sidelines’ without offering a better plan.

She said the Pharmacy First scheme unveiled this week would ‘help unlock 10million doctors’ appointments’ and that the Every Mind Matters campaign had ‘helped 1.2million people to access NHS talking therapies’.

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