This site is intended for health professionals only

Mental health funding cut angers healthcare leaders

Mental health funding will be cut by 1.8% from April, to the dismay of six leading mental health organisations and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). 

NHS England and Monitor, the economic regulator, will be cutting funding for non-acute care services by 1.8%. Acute, hospital-based services will have a budget reduction of 1.5%. 

A letter signed by the heads of the Centre for Mental Health, the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Network, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the Royal College of Psychiatrists said the issues should be "resolved quickly". 

Writing for the Guardian, the letter claims: "Mental health is chronically underfunded. 

"Mental health services are straining at the seams and these new cuts will mean support is slashed in response to instructions from NHS England. This decision will cost much more in the long term as it will drive up admissions to A&E and the number of people reaching crisis and needing expensive hospital care." 

Norman Lamb, the care services minister, has called the decision to penalise mental health services "flawed and unacceptable".

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “We support the government's commitment to bringing about equality between mental and physical health. However, this simply will not happen until more resources are made available for mental health. It is therefore hugely disappointing to hear that NHS England is not planning any uplift in mental health funding.

“Mental health services are currently under huge pressure as they face increasing levels of demand, high rates of bed occupancy, and insufficient staff numbers. This development is a further blow as we know that many mental health trusts have had their funding reduced in recent years, which has exacerbated the situation.”