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Mental health funding must double, says report

A counselling session or psychiatric interview. Patient is not in focus, only hands of clipboard of interviewer can be seen

Investment must be found if mental health is to be truly ‘taken seriously’, health experts have warned in a report assessing NHS funding.

The report suggests mental health spending would need to double to take the number of people with mental health problems receiving NHS treatment from 40 per cent to 70 per cent.

Securing the Future: funding health and social care to the 2030s is a report commissioned by the NHS Confederation with the Health Foundation and Institute for Fiscal Studies. Health leaders gave press conferences discussing its key aspects at the NHS Confed18 conference in Manchester yesterday.

The report suggests health spending should return to annual rises of at least 4 per cent with a long-term deal running until 2030.

It also urges immediate action on mental health, putting forward a model under which 70 per cent of people with mental health problems receive treatment, which would see mental health funding levels more than double to £32bn a year by 2033-34 – from 9 per cent of the health budget to around 12 per cent.

NHS Confederation member and Mental Health Network chief executive Sean Duggan said: ‘It is well publicised we are seeing a rise in the number of people needing treatment for mental health issues and it was a welcome step for the Government to state its intention to put mental health on equal standing with physical health.

‘But if we are to really take mental health seriously and not fail thousands of people in need of help then one thing is crystal clear – investment must be found.

‘Nobody wants to pay more than they have to – and all services, including mental health services, must continue to strive to be as efficient as they can be – but this is about protecting our health and ensuring people experiencing mental health problems are not left without proper treatment and support.’

It comes after new BMA News research revealed record numbers of patients with serious mental health issues are enduring ‘damage and distress’ by being sent to out-of-area beds

 

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