Luciana Berger: MP 'troubled' by mental health care

Luciana Berger Image copyright PA
Image caption Luciana Berger has written to Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group

So few people benefit from mental health care in Liverpool it is "extremely troubling", an MP has said.

Luciana Berger, MP for Wavertree in the city and a shadow health minister, has written to complain to the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (LCCG).

The Labour MP said the group reached only 9% of the city's population, despite having the sixth highest mental health needs in the country.

LCCG said it was planning discussions with the MP to address her concerns.

In her letter to LCCG chief executive Katherine Sheeran, Ms Berger wrote: "Liverpool can never hope to be a truly world class city without a population and workforce that are mentally as well as physically well."

'Poor outcomes'

The MP, who is shadow public health minister, said LCCG was reaching 9% of the population through its Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service, which is 40% below the national average.

She said: "I am extremely troubled to discover that recovery rates of the relatively small number of patients who complete the treatment are currently... just one in three."

She claimed the LCCG gave the IAPT provider an extra £1.15m last year in return for seeing just 300 more people and asked whether this "represents a good use of public funds".

Ms Berger added: "If my constituents were aware of the extent of the problem and the poor outcomes we are seeing here in Liverpool, I suspect they would rightly wonder why you have extended the contract to the current provider on multiple occasions."

Dr Nadim Fazlani, chair of LCCG, disputed Ms Berger's figures for the IAPT services, saying the 9% figure compared favourably with a 10% national average.

Dr Fazlani said improved investment had seen an increase in the number of expert mental health therapists available.

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