Next steps for funding mental healthcare in England

Delivering the Long Term Plan

Ahead of the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), we called on the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England & Improvement, and other arm’s-length bodies of the NHS to:

  • commit to the biggest expansion in access to mental health services across Europe, empowering the disempowered with a much-needed focus on tackling inequalities, fit for a modern NHS
  • enable the NHS to become the safest, most effective, and transparent health system in the world with mental health NHS trusts leading the way
  • empower mental health leaders to develop the healthcare services of the future through Integrated Care Systems and Providers (ICS/ICPs)
  • build a strong and resilient mental health workforce
  • invest in mental health services so that spending on mental health by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and NHS England rises from 10.8% in 2017/18 to around 13.1% in 2028/29 of the total estimated NHS England budget.

The NHS Long Term Plan was underpinned by a revenue funding settlement of an extra £20.5bn for NHS England by 2023/24 (after inflation). This included a commitment that mental health services will grow faster than the overall NHS budget – with a ring-fenced increase in investment worth at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24.

Transforming mental health services in England

An ambitious programme of work is now underway to improve and transform mental health services in England, including a pledge to introduce waiting times standards for children and young people’s mental health services, emergency mental health services, and adult and older adult community mental health teams, building on the progress made by the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

We have identified four other areas that must be fully and sustainably resourced if access to quality of mental health services that have been promised by Government is to be realised. These are:

  • infrastructure
  • prevention
  • people
  • technology.
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