Lewis adds mental health to care brief

Ivan Lewis has taken responsibility for both social care and mental health at the Department of Health as part of the government reshuffle instituted by Gordon Brown.

Lewis told the House of Commons, as he steered the Mental Health Bill through its final week, that he was “pleased to assume lead responsibility for mental health”. He told MPs he would try to build a consensus “whenever possible”.

Lewis also confirmed that he has retained the social care brief, making it likely he will lose some of his previous responsibilities such as child health.

It is understood that the DH’s director general of social care David Behan has also had mental health included in his brief. But a DH spokesperson said he was unable to confirm details.

Mental Health Alliance chair Andy Bell said the appointment should help to give greater prominence to the social care aspect of mental health.

Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said he hoped Lewis would address the poor take up of direct payments among people with mental health problems and improve access to psychological therapies.

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