Steve McCabe MP criticises Government for breaking promises on local mental health spending

The Government is failing to honour its promise to ensure that local mental health spending increases across the country this year, new figures obtained by Labour reveal.

Data obtained by Labour show that Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group has decreased the proportion of their total budget to mental health compared with last year.

Following cuts in mental health spending, the Government stated that it was their clear ‘expectation’ that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) should increase spending on mental health in 2015/16 at least in line with each CCG’s overall allocation growth.

However, data obtained by Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, Luciana Berger, in a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests reveals that more than a third of CCGs are planning to reduce the proportion of their budget they spend on mental health in 2015/16. Birmingham CrossCity CCG is one of them.

In 2015/16 CCGs are planning to allocate just 10 per cent of their budgets to mental health, compared to 11 per cent in 2014/15. This is despite research which indicates mental health accounts for 23 per cent of the burden of disease.

The responses to the FOI requests also reveal that the postcode lottery in mental health funding is set to get worse. Birmingham CrossCity CCG plans to spend 7% of its budget on mental health services this year – less than the 10 per cent national average and a decrease on last year’s allocation of 9%.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“Last week I met with senior executives of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust Foundation. NHS staff are doing their best but across Birmingham we are facing chaos and cuts in mental health services under the Conservatives.

“Some Clinical Commissioning Groups in the West Midlands are campaigning to fill their empty beds, whilst others are completely over-subscribed.

“It’s a fragmented system that is failing patients. Birmingham patients are being sent to London or Northampton, when there could be a bed for them down the road in Dudley or Walsall, but at the moment, there is no sharing of neighbouring or nearby resources.

“This week we have learned that 50 CCGs will be reducing their spending on mental health services in 2015/16, even though the Government stated they’d increase spending on mental health.

 “The structures and budgets for mental health are failing some of the most vulnerable people in Birmingham and the Tories have broken their promises to give parity of esteem to mental and physical health.”

 

 

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