Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“We welcome Nick Clegg’s approach which sets out a clear direction for the Liberal Democrats regarding mental health. The clear commitment to reducing waiting times and supporting talking therapies for those wanting to use them in the NHS are very positive. We must address the stark differences in people’s ability to access mental health and physical healthcare and will work with all of the main political parties in coming months to do this.
“We very much welcome the manifesto commitment to provide an extra £500 million funding for mental health services. We also welcome the commitment to provide an extra £1billion from 2016-17 onwards, made at the beginning of their conference but we cannot forget that there is a funding gap that needs to be addressed before the election. We will be looking for action on this in the Autumn Statement . We will work with the Lib Dems as their proposals shape up in the coming weeks and months, not least how this welcome extra money would be spent.
“The NHS Confederation and 20 partners in our 2015 Manifesto: A Call to Action argued that we want to see concrete plans from all of the parties regarding making mental health services as accessible to people as physical health services. This must include extending the rights of all mental health users to ensure they are able to access services from a provider of their choice on the same basis as service users with physical health problems.”