Mental health services face significant financial pressures and
are failing to deliver improvements for users despite mental health
being a top three health priority for government, it was warned,
writes Katie Leason.
The warning came after research showing that 22 out of 45
trusts, which provide specialist adult mental health services had
seen a reduction in their funding in 2002-3. The combined reduction
amounted to 0.8 per cent, with three trusts seeing a cut of five
per cent or more to their budget.
The research findings (Change in the Funding of English Adult
Mental Health Care Providers between 2001/02 and 2002/03) support
anecdotal reports that the funding available does not match the
government’s expectations for how mental health services
should be developed.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ report said that some
trusts had “large recurring deficits” which swallowed
up any additional funding, and that in other cases mental health
trusts had to make “substantial contributions” to
deficits in other parts of the local health care economy.
There did appear to be some redistribution of funding, with the
three trusts subject to the biggest reduction having affluent
Mental health charity Mind described the findings as “grim
but not surprising news”.
“Despite headlines announcing new policies and new cash
the experience about services on the ground looks to be getting
worse if anything,” said chief executive Richard Brook.