The announcement this morning (11.01.16) from Downing Street of almost a billion pounds of investment to enhance UK mental health services is the latest in a series of welcome commitments to up spend in this historically under-funded area of healthcare.
The Prime Minister has urged the nation to begin a much more honest debate about mental health. As the group representing the 10 London NHS trusts responsible for mental health services, we are ready to start that honest conversation today by asking how, and when, those life-savings funds will reach the front line of mental health care?
That these funding promises are translated into meaningful uplifts in mental health spend at trust and community service-level without delay is, to our mind, non-negotiable.
The Prime Minister’s statement sets out a series of what we agree are valid and - if properly commissioned – viable ways to improve outcomes for patients and transform mental health services.
For providers to be able to make these life-saving ambitions a reality, we need to see evidence of plans for sustained investment, longer term commissioning contracts and stronger mechanisms for holding commissioners to account if funds earmarked for mental health are diverted into other areas.
The Mental Health Taskforce’s report should be published without delay so that those discussions between providers, commissioners and NHS England about how these new funds should be allocated can begin in earnest.