Is it time for a mental health waiting target?
Waiting time targets have become synonymous with the NHS in England. They apply to everything from A&E units and ambulance calls outs to routine surgery and cancer treatment.
But it's not just an English phenomenon. Other countries in the UK have introduced their own.
The exception is mental health. It should come as no surprise - mental health care is often said to be the poor cousin of the NHS family. Figures show that the condition gets 11% of the budget, but accounts for 28% of the disease burden.
The result is that many people go without help. An estimated three quarters of people with a mental illness receive no treatment. For physical disorders, the rate is nearer a quarter.
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