CCGs are being urged by Government to ensure they boost spending on local mental health services, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has claimed.
Speaking at a King’s Fund event on mental health services, Mr Clegg said changes in the way mental health trusts are paid and the introduction of waiting times meant there would no longer be any excuse for mental health services to lose out because of local cuts, while NHS England was ‘asking’ CCGs to increase mental health spending.
Mr Clegg reminded the conference that the Government has pledged £120 million to implement the maximum waiting times for mental health from this year, and an additional £150 million over five years to improve services for children and young people suffering from eating disorders.
He said: ‘Most importantly of all, we’re fundamentally changing the way in which mental health trusts get this money in the first place: shifting the method of funding to the per-patient funding received by other parts of the NHS and funding based on results for patients.
‘This, alongside the introduction of waiting time standards, will end the longstanding financial discrimination which has existed in mental health – because the block grants used to pay mental health trusts in the past, and the lack of maximum waiting times, made them particularly vulnerable to local cuts.’
Mr Clegg added: ‘In the last Autumn statement, we also committed a further £2bn to frontline NHS services. And NHS England has written to every CCG to ask them to increase their mental health spending in real terms, in line with this extra funding.’
A Pulse investigation last year into funding of child and adolescent mental health services revealed many CCGs were applying larger cuts to mental health than other services, in line with NHS England advice on efficiency savings – despite claims there was no central edict to do so.