The Liberal Democrats have pledged to end mixed sex wards in mental health hospitals and called for a ban on youngsters being forced to receive treatment alongside adults.
Backing the motion at its annual conference in Bournemouth, the party said it wanted to challenge the “conspiracy of silence” over the “unacceptable” state of mental health care on the NHS.
People suffering from mental health problems should be entitled to the same level of care as people suffering from physical conditions, health spokesman Norman Lamb said.
He commented: “There is almost a conspiracy of silence from political parties and from the media in simply refusing to talk about the unacceptable state of our mental health services.”
The plans would include an “absolute prohibition” on anyone under 18 being placed on an adult ward and an end to mixed sex wards.
“The state of many of our in-patient mental health wards is intolerable,” Mr Lamb said. “They are dreadful. Hidden from public view, they would never be tolerated if they were in our local general hospital.”
He added that the demands would have to be achieved within the GBP 100 billion spent on the NHS.
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