Government urged to direct mental health funding to providers

A new King’s Fund report, ‘Mental health under pressure’, has found that while increased political support and a stronger policy focus on mental health has been welcome, ‘parity of esteem remains a long way off’.

The report found that around 40 per cent of mental health trusts experienced reductions in income in 2013/14 and 2014/15. It also reported how bed occupancy in inpatient facilities remains frequently above recommended levels, while the lack of available beds is leading to high numbers of out-of-area placements for inpatients. Additionally, the sector’s transformation programmes represent a ‘leap in the dark’, with little formal evaluation to indicate impact on the quality of or access to care.

Stephen Dalton, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, said: “If this government is serious about prioritising mental health, they need to ensure new funding gets directly to providers of care and not channelled through layers of bureaucracy where it is lost. There is a yawning gap between the rhetoric and reality when it comes to mental health policy in England.”

He called the King’s Fund report a helpful and timely contribution, which ‘exposes the institutional bias’ present in the NHS when it comes to funding for mental health.

Read the King’s Fund report

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