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A new report published by the King’s fund has revealed physical health services in the UK are still receiving bigger budgets, despite ministers repeatedly stressing the need to increase mental health service funding.
Figures show the budgets of NHS mental health Trusts in England increased by only 2% in 2016-17, compared to the 6% boost specialist care and acute Trusts received.
These findings have further fuelled concerns that mental health patients are receiving poor quality of care, and the inequality of funding is hindering mental health Trusts in employing additional staff to fill staff shortages, and improve patient’s quality of care.
Helen Gilburt, from the King’s Fund, said: “While the NHS is in a difficult position, the slow growth in mental health Trust funding and the problem of not having enough staff are both having a real impact on patients, who are having to put up with services that are being stretched to the limit.”
Paul Farmer, the chief executive of the charity Mind, said: “Mental health has been under-resourced for too long, with dire consequences for people with mental health problems.”
He also added: “If people don’t get the help they need, when they need it, they are likely to become more unwell and need more intensive support further down the line.”
NHS England argued: “Funding for mental health services rose in 2016-17 by 6.3% to £9.7bn, compared with a smaller increase – of just 3.7% – in other parts of the health budget.”
Eighty four percent of mental health trusts received a budget increase from NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) last year. With NHS England revealing mental health services now receive a larger share of total CCG spending at 13.6%.
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