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Adviser questions mental health funding

The Government has sacked one of its independent health advisers after he wrote a newspaper article suggesting that funding promised for mental health services was actually going to be spent elsewhere.

Professor David Richards, professor of mental health services research at the University of Exeter questioned whether a £400 million pot earmarked for improving access to talking therapy had been created by cutting other NHS services.

Quoted in the Guardian newspaper today, Professor Richards said the sacking was ‘very disappointing’.

He added: ‘The questions are not a matter of mere detail but of vital import for the many thousands of people trapped in a cycle of untreated misery and fear.’

Professor Richards has been involved since 2006 in efforts to increase the numbers of trained therapists to help patients with anxiety and depression. For the last two and a half years, he has been a national adviser to the Department of Health’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

Adviser questions mental health funding