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NHS England rejects mental health funding claim

A claim that mental health trusts have less money in real terms than they did in 2012 has been rejected by NHS England, which says many trusts also provide community services, and some services have been transferred to local government

A claim by the Royal College of Psychiatrists that mental health trusts have less money in real terms than they did in 2012 has been rejected by NHS England.

The NHS body said the college’s analysis ignored the fact that many trusts also provide community services, and some services had been transferred to local government.


Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The college said spending by mental health trusts in England is lower now than it was in 2011-12, when inflation is taken into account.

The college examined trusts’ annual reports and spending data published by regulators. It said 34 of 55 of mental health trusts in England reported lower operating income in real terms in 2016-17 compared with 2011-12.

Mental health problems

College president Wendy Burn said: ‘It is totally unacceptable that when more and more people are coming forward with mental health problems, trusts are receiving less investment than they did, in some cases, seven years ago.’

But NHS England said the research ‘ignores the fundamental fact that many of the trusts it references provide both mental health and community services entirely unrelated to mental health’.

‘Changes in the trusts’ total income tell us nothing about their mental health revenues specifically,’ it said.

Real terms figure

An NHS England spokesperson said that during the period studied, funding responsibilities for a number of services that these trusts provide, such as sexual health clinics, were transferred from the NHS to local government.

‘NHS mental health investment has been increasing in real terms both last year and this,’ the spokesperson said.

Labour’ shadow minister for mental health Barbara Keeley said: ‘Real terms cuts added to the fragmentation of services have come at a time when demand for mental health services is increasing.’

Labour said the government should ring-fence mental health budgets.


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