Mental health trusts predict spending cuts

Mental health trusts in England have predicted that there will be significant funding cuts over the next four years. Data from 41 mental health trusts show that from 2014-15 to 2018-19 income is expected to fall by 8% in real terms.

The figures are from five-year plans which were submitted to regulators last summer before extra money was promised in the last Budget but NHS England said accurate predictions could not be made until a new government set out spending plans.

The five-year plans which set out what three-quarters of trusts expect their financial position to be in the coming years show that funding for both adults and children’s services in 2014-15 was £5.86bn, but by 2018-19 that is expected to be £5.74bn – an 8% cut once inflation is taken into account. Since then £250m a year over the next five years was promised as part of a mental health announcement made in the Budget.

Experts said the findings were still worrying. Anita Charlesworth, chief economist of the Health Foundation, said the cuts would pile more pressure on services that were under strain. She said: ‘What we are seeing is potentially real-terms resources falling, against a backdrop of growing need and already real concerns about whether there is the quality of care. And that’s not just a human imperative, but there’s a big economic cost to poor access to mental health services.’

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