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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Mental health cash alert

12th January 2007

16032006_sad_face.jpgA leading charity has implored the government to release more funds for mental health care.

The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (SCMH) has examined the resources needed to meet the government's 10-year National Service Framework and has concluded that a major increase in spending is required if the government is to meet its own targets for mental health provision.  In a detailed report, the Centre says that funds available for mental health must increase by 50% above inflation and staffing levels must be boosted by 40% in order to deliver an adequate service to mental health patients. 20,000 extra qualified mental health nurses are needed by 2010/11 according to the report.

The report also noted that funds for mental health provision have increased by an average of 6.7% annually which it described as a "substantial achievement".  However, Angela Greatley, chief executive of SCMH, said there were still "major gaps" in provision and it seemed unlikely that the government would fully realise its aims.

Health Minister Rosie Winterton welcomed the report saying it proved the government’s commitment to increasing investment into mental health services.  “Patients are benefiting from more staff and services that are better geared to meet their needs. We will continue to increase numbers of staff, such as community development workers, and access to a wider range of services such as talking therapies," she said.

But shadow Health Minister Tim Loughton, said: "There are very worrying gaps in the recruitment of professionals across all areas of mental staff.?  His views are echoed by the mental health charity Sane; a spokeswoman said "Monies are still not reaching the front line, and we hear daily of beds and wards closing, day and community services being cut and teams being understaffed. Without making mental health a genuinely funded priority, people with serious and enduring needs will continue to be short-changed."


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