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Child mental health spending cut by £50 million since last Government

NHS expenditure on child and adolescent mental health services has fallen 6% in real terms since 2009/10, according to latest NHS England figures.

Almost £50m less was spent on CAMHS in 2012/13 than in 2009/10, according to the data, which was revealed in a parliamentary answer this week to questions from shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.

According to the written answer from health minister Norman Lamb, £766m was spent in real-terms (according to 2013/14 prices) on CAMHS in 2009/2010 – the final year of the last, Labour Government.

But subsequent real-terms spending has fallen each year, to a low of £717m in 2012/13.

No data for 2013/14 are available, but a Pulse investigation found many CCGs were making further cuts to CAMHS funding this year, in line with NHS England recommendations to impose bigger cutbacks on mental health than other services, leaving GPs even less scope to refer children with psychological problems for appropriate help.

NHS child psychologists recently warned that some children are needlessly being prescribed drugs for hyperactivity, as a result of services being overstretched and underfunded.