EVEN though Theresa May hoped this week’s launch of the NHS 10-Year Plan would deflect attention away from Brexit, the two issues are, in many respects, inter-related.
The reason is this. The Government’s unparalleled investment depends on a strong economy generating the necessary tax revenues to invest in hospitals, schools and so on.
And it is the economy – and therefore the public finances – which will be worst hit if the expected defeat of Mrs May’s Brexit deal next Tuesday sparks a full-blown constitutional crisis.
As such, all MPs – irrespective of their party allegiance or stance on Brexit – are advised to consider today’s Public Accounts Committee on mental health services for young people before they enter the division lobbies.
It makes sobering reading. In 2017-18, only three in 10 children and young people with a mental health condition received NHS-funded treatment, and many more faced unacceptably long waits for treatment.
Furthermore, demand for services is only going to grow after it emerged that one in eight of young people aged between five and 19 years have a mental health disorder.
As such, a defining test of this NHS Plan is whether the extra funding leads to marked improvements in the provision of treatment in this sector when community care – just like social care for the elderly – has been marginalised by austerity. And it will only happen if MPs start to consider the human consequences of their Brexit battles and how they could affect the most vulnerable members of society if the economy is put at risk.