Further to go to close the mental health funding gap
16 January 2018
- The King’s Fund publishes new analysis of mental health service spending and workforce pressures
- It finds despite rising income for majority of NHS mental health trusts, the gap between spending on mental health and acute providers widened last year
- We say “more must be done to ensure that funding earmarked for mental health services, and to implement the Five year forward view, reaches frontline providers.”
The King’s Fund has published its analysis of mental health service spending titled ‘Funding and staffing of NHS mental health providers: still waiting for parity’
It argues that the gap between spending on NHS acute hospitals and NHS mental health providers widened last year, despite increasing income for 84% of mental health trusts.
Income for mental health trusts rose by less than 2.5% in 2016/17 compared with over 6% for acute and specialist trusts.
It also reveals that the number of mental health nurses has fallen 13% since 2009. One in ten of all specialist mental health posts are currently vacant.
Responding the director of policy and strategy and deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:
“This analysis shows that despite income increasing for mental health trusts, there is still much further to go on the journey to close the gap between spending on physical and mental health services.
More must be done to ensure that funding earmarked for mental health services, and to implement the five year forward view, reaches frontline providers.
“While we welcome extra funding, budgets in mental health services are more stretched than ever. Services face rapidly rising demand, with over 70% of mental health leaders telling us last year they expect demand to rise further. Staffing challenges are also severe, particularly in the community sector and in services for children and adolescents (CAMHS).
“More must be done to ensure that funding earmarked for mental health services, and to implement the five year forward view, reaches frontline providers. We need to see all commissioners allocate this funding appropriately and transparently. Meeting the Mental Health Investment Standard is a vital first step towards closing this funding gap.”