Nick Clegg promises £120m boost for mental health care

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will today announce coalition plans to improve the standard of treatment of mental health patients in the NHS, the Guardian reports. Clegg will set new waiting time targets as part a £120m project over the next two years. He will say that three-quarters of patients needing talking therapies will be guaranteed treatment within six weeks, with 95 per cent starting treatment after a maximum wait of 18 weeks, and those suffering more serious problems, such as psychosis, will be offered treatment within two weeks of referral. The plans aim to give parity to the treatment of mental and physical illness in the NHS from 2015. An unusual move for a party leader to put mental illness at the centre of a mainstream party policy programme, pundits are saying it is yet another attempt by the Liberal Democrats to be noticed at a time when polls suggest it is in danger of being seen as irrelevant.