Tuesday, 1 May
Last week, I was very concerned to read an article in the
‘SHA's plans “disgraceful” mental health cuts to boost cancer
care'. According to the report, NHS London has asked staff to
plan for a cut of nearly two-thirds in its mental health research
and analysis budget (from £3.5m down to £1.3m) to make up a
shortfall on cancer budgets.
All yesterday, we were trying to verify the
accuracy of this story, to find out when a decision is likely to be
taken and, if the story is accurate, what can be done to remedy
We all understand the huge challenges faced by
NHS organisations to deliver all that is expected of them. But can
you imagine the public outcry if it was the other way round – if
money was being taken off cancer services, audit and research to
fund mental health services?
We all have huge respect for cancer services,
and recognise the need for timely treatment. But not at the expense
of mental health services. What is the point of gaining parity of
esteem for mental health and physical health services through
the new Health and Social Care Act, if it means nothing in
As you know, I am a tempered person who always
seeks solutions to problems. But this is a very concerning
situation and it’s important we speak out. I will update you as I
On a more positive note, at the end of last
week I read through the 2012/2013 MPET (Multi Professional
Education and Training) budget Service Level Agreement between the
Department of Health and Strategic Health Authorities.
The agreement states that SNA should indicate
what plans they are putting in place to provide at least 22.5% of
F1 doctors with a four-month F1 placement in psychiatry from August
2013, and 22.5% of F2 doctors from August 2014.
This is great news for recruitment to our
profession, and great news for patients.
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