Ministers Accused Of Failing Mental Health Pledge

mental health

A row over spending on mental health in the UK has broken out after the government has been accused of failing to honour promises to boost funding.

Figures which were collected by the Labour party suggest that 50 out of 130 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) plan to reduce the proportion of the budget they allocated to mental health for this financial year. Whereas 11% of their budget was dedicated to mental health in 2014/15, it is suggested that this will go down to 10% for the remainder of this year and 2016.

Whilst Labour has argued that mental health budgets have fallen for 2015-16, the Department of Health has rejected this accusation and has assured that mental health in the UK remains a government priority. A spokesperson has also commented that figures prove that spending has actually increased by £0.4bn already in 2015.

Guidance from NHS England which was published at the end of last year stated that funding in 2015-16 should increase by at least as much as the increase in overall allocation in order to meet a five-year objective to ensure that mental health is treated equally to physical health.

The Chairman of the NHS Clinical Commissioners Mental Health Network assured that the importance of investing in mental health is clear but unfortunately, financial pressures are leaving no room for an increase in spend in any one area. He also stressed that commissioners are looking into the different ways that mental health can be funded including through the use of the voluntary sector and community schemes.

With contradicting information coming from all sides, the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network, Stephen Dalton commented on how the lack of transparency over this issue is disappointing:

“On the frontline, whilst some mental health services have seen modest investment, most report they are at a standstill and others have even seen a reduction in spending.”

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