Mental health spending in Manchester could be cut by £1.5m next year – against NHS guidelines
26 Th August, 2015
But bosses say years of investment will mean the ‘neediest’ won’t be hit
The cut, revealed by a Labour Freedom of Information request, directly flouts government guidelines.
It comes despite Central Manchester having the longest wait for mental health services in the country – 104.5 days – while just under one in four Mancunians have a common mental health disorder.
But health commissioners say the cut comes after years of investment – and won’t affect the ‘neediest’.
North, South and Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups – which commission hospital, primary care, community and mental health services across the city – are seeing their combined budgets rise from £714.4m to £753.9m next year, an average 5.5pc.
But they plan to cut the proportion spent on mental health services by around 1pc.
That is despite NHS England guidance stating it should rise ‘at least’ in line with budget increases.
Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger said: “At a time when experts are warning of a growing crisis in mental health, this is of grave concern.
Ministers repeatedly promised that the amount spent on mental health locally would increase in line with local CCG budgets.
Yet they have failed to make this a reality and too many CCGs actually plan to spend less of their budget on mental health this year.”
It is understood health chiefs hope more mental health cash will be available from other sources before next April to mitigate the cut.
A spokesman for the three CCGs said: “Manchester’s spending on mental health services is well above the national average and among the highest in the country as a proportion of CCG budgets.
“The reduction also follows a prolonged period of year-on-year growth in investment in mental health services so any apparent reduction is from a higher base level, which makes comparisons misleading.
“Where savings have been found, these did not relate to contracted spending – or in the main with our NHS providers – but addressing the cost effectiveness of more expensive spending with external providers and will not affect those most in need.”