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Parts of England cutting mental health spending, figures suggest

Five regions of England are cutting spending on mental health, figures suggest.
MH_cuts.jpg

Five regions of England are cutting spending on mental health, figures suggest.

Freedom of Information data obtained by Pulse magazine shows 4.5 million worth of cuts in 2017-18 by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Sefton, Scarborough, the Isle of Wight, St Helens and Walsall.

Mental health services in Walsall will be experiencing the largest cut, with the CCG reducing spending by 1.9m, or 3.6%, compared with last year.

Data received from 127 CCGs showed the total CCG spend on mental health increased by 4.15%.

NHS England said in its Five Year Forward View for mental health in February last year that CCGs should spend an extra 1 billion a year on mental health by 2020-21.

Care 'closer to home'

It also

Five regions of England are cutting spending on mental health, figures suggest.


Five clinical commissioning groups have made millions of pounds' worth of cuts
to mental health services. Picture: iStock

Freedom of Information data obtained by Pulse magazine shows £4.5 million worth of cuts in 2017-18 by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Sefton, Scarborough, the Isle of Wight, St Helens and Walsall.

Mental health services in Walsall will be experiencing the largest cut, with the CCG reducing spending by £1.9m, or 3.6%, compared with last year.

Data received from 127 CCGs showed the total CCG spend on mental health increased by 4.15%.

NHS England said in its Five Year Forward View for mental health in February last year that CCGs should spend an extra £1 billion a year on mental health by 2020-21.

Care 'closer to home' 

It also requires CCGs to increase their spend on mental health services in line with their budget increases.

NHS Walsall CCG chief officer Simon Brake said: 'Walsall CCG benchmarks nationally as high-spending, falling within the upper quartile as an outlier. It has invested significantly more in previous years in mental health services than its CCG peers ahead of the national requirement to make investments in this area.

'This, combined with lower than average funding growth of only 1.4% compared to a national average uplift of 2.14%, has resulted in the CCG working closely with its local mental health providers to develop a transformation programme that meets national trajectories for moving care closer to home, and improves quality of provision and outcomes while at the same time working within available financial resources.'

A spokesperson from NHS South Sefton CCG said: 'We have assurance from our main mental health providers for adults and children's services that they will be able to deliver the 'must do's' set out in the Five Year Forward View for mental health within the budget allocations for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.'

Protected investment 

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG said the figures did not take into account other work the group was doing on mental health.

But RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: 'Patients deserve more than rhetoric when it comes to mental health. The NHS promised to increase mental health spending but these hidden cuts demonstrate that parity between services is sadly a long way off. Mental health is still considered the poor relation and an easy target.

'All parts of the NHS are struggling to recruit and retain nursing staff, but nowhere is this more true than in the mental health sector. The government should commit to sustained and protected investment, supported by clear workforce planning.'

An NHS England spokesperson said: 'CCGs as a whole are on track to achieve the mental health investment target in 2016-17.'


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