Government Needs To Keep Promise on Mental Health Funding

YoungMinds says more children and young people could be put at risk if the government don't keep their promise on funding local mental health services. 

Figures from Luciana Berger MP, obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, display that half of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) plan to cut their budget for mental health throughout 2016 and 2017. This breaks the government’s pledge that promised to increase spending on mental health, in line with overall budget adjustments.

CCGs plan to reduce budget

From the data collected the following discoveries were made:

  • Of the 128 CCGs who responded to the FOI request, 73 (57%) plan to reduce the proportion of their mental health budget.
  • This time last year (2015/16) a third of CCGs planned to decrease the proportion of their budget spent on mental health.
  • This year the majority of CCGs are planning a reduction, indicating that it is becoming more and more difficult for CCGs to meet the Government’s promise.
  • The amount CCGs plan to spend on mental health services varied between West Hampshire, which will spend just 5% of its budget on mental health services, to Haringey which plans to allocate 16% of its total budget to mental health - an 11% range.

Last month, NHS England’s National Director for Mental Health, Claire Murdoch, stated that an intervention would have to be made by the national body if commissioners and providers continue not to invest in mental health services.

Deeply concerning figures

The YoungMinds Chief Policy Adviser, Marc Bush, said:

These are deeply concerning figures. We know there is a mental health crisis for children and young people, with families not knowing if or when they will be seen.

Although the government has invested an additional £1.4 billion over five years, this data suggests it may not yet be making a difference to front-line services.

We urge the government to keep its commitment to increasing local budgets for mental health services. Otherwise more children will fall into the gap and more parents will be in distress.

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