Cuts to Mental Health Funding for First Time in a Decade
August 8, 2012
The Fresh Outlook
Spending on mental health has fallen for the first time in 10 years, say reports from the Department of Health.
Despite the coalition’s promise to prioritise mental health in order to bring treatment up to par with that of physical health in the NHS, investment in mental health has dropped by 1%. Dropping from 65bn to 63.3bn in the last year, this is the first fall since 2001. The elderly were hit hardest, with spending falling by a massive 3.1% to 2.83bn.
However, there is some variation between the three priority spending areas in mental health. While focus on crisis resolution and outreach services fell, early intervention reported a rise. Similarly, spending on psychological therapies rose by six percent to £386m.
Charities are arguing that this inconsistency represents the wide variation in mental health spending as a whole. The mental health charity Mind found “considerable variation in service provision, for example with one in five people still waiting over a year to access to talking therapies whilst others are seen in under 28 days”.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “This report shows a worrying trend,” adding: “During difficult economic times mental health is an easy target for cuts.”
By Lucy England
[Image courtesy of Alaina Abplanalp Photography]