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CCGs are failing to invest enough in mental health, says NHS Providers


3 January 2017

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Nearly two-thirds of mental health providers believe CCGs will fail to meet investment targets designed to put mental health on equal footing to physical health.

In a survey of mental health trust leaders conducted by NHS Providers, 63% said they were “not confident” that CCGs will deliver the Mental Health Investment Standard.

The standard requires CCGs to increase mental health funding in line with their commissioning allocations.

Nearly two-thirds of mental health providers believe CCGs will fail to meet investment targets designed to put mental health on equal footing to physical health.

In a survey of mental health trust leaders conducted by NHS Providers, 63% said they were “not confident” that CCGs will deliver the Mental Health Investment Standard.

The standard requires CCGs to increase mental health funding in line with their commissioning allocations.

Trust leaders told NHS Providers that they heard from their CCG that there was not enough funding to invest in mental health, with some cutting funding from mental health services.

They added that CCGs are prioritising the acute sector over mental health.

According to NHS England guidance for drawing up 2017/18 operational and activity plans, CCGs that fail to meet the mental health investment requirements “without valid cause” could be subject to “regulatory sanctions”.

This includes “imposing directions on the CCG to increase its level of investment”, the document says.

Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said: “It is very disappointing that despite repeated commitments to ensure parity between mental and physical health, the public commitments to increase mental health funding will not be delivered on the ground.”

The survey drew responses from leaders at 38 trusts, which is 64% of all mental health providers in England.

Julie Wood, NHS Clinical Commissioners chief executive, said commissioners are “serious and ambitious” about improving mental health services and mental health services are “invaluable”.

However, she added that investing in mental health is “wider” than trusts alone.

She said: “To get the best possible outcomes for their population, CCGs are also investing more in new models of care that focus on crisis care and recovery out of hospital, exploring new voluntary sector partnerships and investing in primary care services.

Wood also reiterated the organisation’s call for ring-fenced funding for children and young people’s mental healthcare, which she said requires “heavy investment”.

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