The Government very much regret that it has not been given an opportunity to make a contribution to the proposal for a Motion about Mental Health which has been circulated by the Leader of the Opposition today. Given that Mr Azopardi was in Parliament on Friday, along with the Chief Minister, it would have been the perfect opportunity to have reminded the Government of an outstanding reply on this matter
It is a genuine pity that the Leader of the Opposition did not go the extra mile and properly consult on Friday, even though he knows full well that his Motion will not prosper without Government support.
The Chief Minister has indicated on several occasions that he is perfectly open, as the Leader of the House, to consider a request for a Motion to be agreed by consensus because such cooperation on these issues can only be good for Gibraltar.
It will be recalled that there was a thorough, lengthy and detailed debate in Parliament in November 2016 on the subject of Mental Health. This was based on a GSD Opposition Motion which was amended by both the Government and Ms Marlene Hassan Nahon. An agreement was arrived at between the Independent Member and the Government, who supported each other’s amendments to the Motion, and in this way arrived at a consensus. The GSD Opposition did not agree with this consensus on Mental Health issues and voted against the final amended Motion.
The 2016 Motion recognised that the Government employed a structured multi-agency approach to mental healthcare and it already partially used the NHS(UK) model, which it invited the Government to consider implementing in its entirety, in the same way as the approach works in the UK, in order to achieve maximum efficiency of care. The GSD opposition voted against this.
The 2016 Motion also commended the Government to continue to relentlessly pursue the improvement in mental healthcare provision by basing its policies on the best medical advice and working hand-in-glove with professionals and civil society to design and deliver optimum support for persons with mental health issues. The GSD Opposition also voted against this.
In the context of the GSD Opposition’s failure to support the 2016 Mental Health Motion, their breach of the consensus that was found at that time and their unwillingness to chase-up their request on Friday, they have now created a predicament for everyone including themselves. It saddens the Government to find that we are now faced with this situation over an important issue like Mental Health where parliamentarians should best work together.