Mental health trust chief executives give their views of ten years under New Labour

Over the past two weeks, HSJ has revealed the views of NHS chief executives on what a decade of Labour in power has meant for the service, focusing first on acute trust leaders, then on primary care. In the final part of the series, we turn to chief executives of mental health trusts for their views To read the stories click on the links below:

Early promise turns sour for mental health chiefs

Mental health chiefs sick of bailing out others

Many themes echo those of their peers: a feeling that while targets have transformed the service, they have not always taken account of the full patient experience.

Some mental health leaders share their acute peers' view that primary care chiefs are held less publicly to account. And mental health trusts share with PCTs anger about the removal of funding.

There is one finding which is specific to the mental health community. It is nine years since then health secretary Frank Dobson announced plans to reform mental health law, because 'community care had failed'. Community care looks a lot different now to how it did in 1998: for that, the government, alongside managers and staff, can take some credit.

Perhaps, however, ministers can spare a thought for the political capital wasted during a decade's debate on mental health legislation - a focus that has done untold damage to efforts to reduce stigma attached to a psychiatric diagnosis, but has yet to result in a single change to the law.