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Mental health funding drops, Prime Minister pledges boost for dementia research and a dip in childhood obesity figures.

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Thursday 12 December.

Mental health trust budgets have suffered a 2% drop in the past two years, as funding failed to keep pace with inflation.

The Freedom of Information request from the BBC also shows that ten out of 13 trusts are expecting further cuts next year, but separate data reveals that referrals to crisis and community mental health teams have increased by 16%.

Care minister Norman Lamb laid the blame with CCGs and called for NHS England to ensure parity between mental and physical health services. He said: ‘It is completely unacceptable for local commissioners to disadvantage mental health in the allocation of funds to local health services.’

The latest news from the G8 summit on dementia, currently being held in London, is that Prime Minister David Cameron has announced research funding will be doubled by 2025.

The Guardian reports that funding will rise to £122m by 2025 – while 2015 research funding is only set to be £66m – but the paper points out this is a fraction of the £267m allocated to cancer research in 2007-08.

The Prime Minister called for international cooperation on tackling dementia and said the Government was: ‘throwing everything we have at making the UK the place to invest and locate and work in life sciences.’

There are early signs that efforts to turn the tide on childhood obesity are working, as the Daily Mail reports a drop in the number of obese 6-11 year olds, for the first time in seven years.

A report published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre today found 18.9% of children were obese this year, and this is still higher than in 2006-07 of 17.5%.

Kingsley Manning, chair of the HSCIC, said: ‘These figures provide clear insight into the weight of the next generation on both a national and local scale.

‘The first drop in obesity prevalence among Year 6 stands out, although we will need to see what the numbers say in future years to determine if this is the start of a decline or more of a blip.’

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