News & Views

15th February 2016

Mental health to receive £1bn extra funding

The government has announced it will allocate an extra £1 billion in funding for the mental health sector by 2021, as well as new improvement targets in the field.

The announcement comes in the wake of the findings of a special taskforce set up to review the so-called ‘Cinderella service’ of the NHS. The funding and plans are expected to benefit an extra million people each year.

The money is being allocated to NHS England to meet taskforce targets of seven-day access to help in a crisis, greater prevention of illness and integrated care to ensure every patient's mental health and physical needs are met.

The taskforce detailed 58 recommendations for improving care in total. They include providing psychological therapy for an extra 600,000 people, patients not being treated long distances from home and high-quality care for 70,000 more children and young people.

One aim is to reduce suicide rates by 10%, with rates having risen of recent – in 2014 suicide peaked at 4,882 deaths. Extra support measures will also be taken with 30,000 new mothers who are struggling with depression.

£9.2 billion a year is currently spent on mental health, which is less than 10% of the NHS budget. Official figures show that around 25% of people currently experience a mental health problem each year.

Chair of the taskforce and Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said: “This is a landmark moment for mental health care in this country, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform services and support for people with mental health problems.”

However, the announcement outlined little in the way of independent sector engagement. Independent Mental Health Services Alliance (IMHSA) chair Joy Chamberlain (pictured) said: “Unlike the Crisp Commission’s recent report, the taskforce has not recognised the valuable role the independent sector can play here, and we hope that this will be given appropriate consideration as these recommendations are taken forward.”

Lord Crisp led a commission on acute adult psychiatric care, which recently published its report ‘Old problems, new solutions’.




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