A mental health trust in Manchester has cut seven frontline community-based services to save £1m, in one of the first major decisions taken since the city was given total control over its health budget.
Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MHSC) proposed the cuts in October and, despite a huge public outcry, decided last week to push through with plans.
The decision comes as Greater Manchester has been given complete control over its £6bn health budget following the implementation of ’DevoManc’, becoming the first region of England to have devolved healthcare powers.
Services to be cut include those for chronic fatigue and psychosexual disorders, as well as gardening therapies.
MHSC said: ‘The trust, like many others across the country, is working under tough financial pressures and it has been a difficult decision for the board to make but one which is supported by our commissioners.
‘The trust’s proposals have been designed to protect essential services.’
It added that it will reinvest £200,000 into a new citywide wellbeing service.
The three local CCGs affected – NHS Central Manchester CCG, NHS North Manchester CCG and NHS South Manchester CCGs – said they had supported the cuts but that this did not mean they were not working to improve mental health services in Manchester.
A spokesperson said: ‘Our priorities are around keeping people safe and well, which is why we are committed to a long-term Mental Health Improvement Programme in Manchester. And our funding of mental health services has grown by £7m from 2013/14 to 2015/16.’
It comes less than two months after the Government-commissioned Mental Health Taskforce recommended that access to psychological therapies be increased by 10% by 2020/2021 and for commissioners to ensure that mental and physical health be given equal priority.