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CCG and STP bosses must increase their spending on mental health services, NHS England has urged.
It follows a requirement to meet the mental health investment standard (MHIS), as stated in the Refreshing NHS Plans for 2018-19 document, published in February.
CCGs should increase their mental health spending ‘faster than overall growth in health spending’, NHS England National Mental Health director Claire Murdoch specified in a letter to CCG and STP leads sent on 4 April.
Spending on mental health services increased by 6.3% between 2015/16 and 2016/17, Ms Murdoch wrote in the letter.
However, not all CCGs are currently meeting the standards, although a whopping 85% are complying with the MHIS, she said.
Failing to meet the standard will be ‘unacceptable’
Every CCG is expected to be compliant with the standard by the end of March 2019.
Ms Murdoch wrote: ‘Failing to meet the MHIS in 2018/19 would be unacceptable to us all.
‘Meeting the MHIS is not an optional extra, but something we are deeply committed to and expect every CCG to achieve.’
CCGs’ finance and operational plans returns will be closely examined by a NHS mental health unit working with regional colleagues, warned Ms Murdoch.
She continued: ‘Where our data analysis suggests that an individual CCG is not on track to meet the standard, their financial director and operations director will be called directly by a member of the mental health unit or myself, to seek assurances on local and regional plans to put this right.’
Extra funding for mental health
CCGs will receive an extra £1.4bn to spend on emergency pressures, extra elective work to tackle waiting lists, meeting the Mental Health Investment Standard, cancer and primary care, as stated in the Refreshing NHS Plans for 2018/19.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) also made available £540m to fund mental health services and primary care.
More money will be spent on mental health services, with the total spent for 2017/18 to reach £11.9bn, according to NHS England.
However, data retrieved by the Labour Party last year found that a third of CCGs reduced the percentage of their budget to spend on mental health in 2017/18.