Mental health trust funding down 8% from 2010 despite coalition’s drive for parity of esteem

Funding for NHS trusts to provide mental health services has fallen by more than 8% in real terms over the course of this parliament, according to research by Community Care and BBC News.

Figures obtained from 43 of England’s 56 NHS mental health trusts through Freedom of Information requests, an analysis of financial reports and other research, show that total funding for the trusts’ mental health services dropped in cash terms from £6.7bn in 2010-11 to an expected £6.6bn in 2014-15. The figures amount to a real terms reduction of 8.25%, or almost £600m, once inflation has been accounted for.

At the same time referrals to community mental health teams, the services designed to stop people’s mental health deteriorating to crisis point, have risen by nearly 20%.

The funding pressures have left some community services handling caseloads double the recommended levels and several are falling short of Department of Health (DH) staffing guidelines.

Official figures show the pressure on inpatient services has also risen. Mental Health Act detentions to hospitals hit a record high last year while bed availability dropped to its lowest level in four years of data collection.

Read more at Community Care.