With the Royal College of Psychiatrists claiming mental health services are ‘near breaking point’, Care Minister Norman Lamb has insisted that they ‘try and cheer up’.
“The trouble with the bloody psychiatrists is that for them, the glass is always half empty, whereas in reality it’s almost a third full. Well, maybe a quarter. Certainly not very much less than a quarter, that’s for sure. They should just get a grip and snap out of it.”
Lamb insisted that the crisis could be tackled by ‘going for a walk’, ‘joining a library’ or ‘waving goodbye to Mr Sad Sack’.
“On second thoughts, perhaps not a library, they’re a complete waste of resources”, said Lamb. “There’s plenty of funny videos on YouTube for free, or you could watch Miranda on iPlayer. Sitting at home and staring at the dark inevitability of death isn’t going to help anyone. Why not buy a lottery ticket, or think about Del Boy leaning on a bar?”
With referrals to mental health teams increasing by 16%, Lamb insisted the crisis could be tackled by patients instead going to see a jolly clown. “He might have painted on a sad face but he’s smiling on the inside. And if he isn’t, he probably needs to see a clown too.”
The Coalition has guaranteed the NHS budget will rise by 0.1% over the course of this parliament. Lamb rejected as ‘absolutely barking mad’ suggestions that this is too small a figure to measure with any degree of accuracy.
Lamb suggested tickling was a simple cure-all for most mental health issues, but drew the line at actually employing professional ticklers. “If you’re serious about getting better, you’d tickle yourself”, insisted the minister. “And maybe stick a couple of stitches in those self-harming cuts, while you’re on.”
“Anyway we’ve got plenty of time to get the details of funding sorted out, now the recovery is so well-established,” he told Radio 4. “There’s ages to go yet. Only 18 months you say? Shit. Has anyone got a clown I can look at?”