The country’s leading anxiety disorders charity, Anxiety UK, is calling for the new GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to learn from their predecessors’ past mistakes when it comes to funding mental health services.
The new CCGs will come into effect in April replacing Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and GP-led consortia will commission mental health services locally in the future.
Anxiety UK fear budget pressures will lead to CCGs to look for savings on the current arrangements that are in place in many areas when the new approach takes over control.
The charity voiced its concerns after former health minister Paul Burstow MP recently revealed spending is already three times less on mental health services in some areas than it is on others.
In addition spending on mental health care overall fell for the second year running according to figures provided by Department of Health officials to the House of Commons health select committee recently.
Mr Burstow has warned that: “short-sighted penny pinching is condemning people to a lifetime of mental ill health.”
Anxiety UK CEO Nicky Lidbetter said: “We would urge the new commissioners of mental health services to learn from the past funding mistakes that saw spending across the country varying so greatly.
“There is a strong economic case to invest in mental health services as failure to do so will only will only increase the pressure on more expensive acute care while leaving families in deeper crises.
“We would urge them to put mental health on a par with physical health services and not to be tempted to save money in the short term because this really is a short-sighted approach particularly at a time when services like ours are experiencing unprecedented demand.”
Notes to Editors
1. Anxiety UK is a user-led charity with more than forty years’ experience in supporting those living with anxiety. The charity has a range of resources aimed at children & young people living with anxiety as well as for schools and parents. For more information visit www.anxietyuk.org.uk
2. Paul Burstow MP is to lead a year-long commission on mental health for the Lib Dem thinktank, Centre Forum. He obtained the breakdown of the 2011-12 local spending figures, which have not previously been disclosed, through parliamentary questions.
3. The figures show that while Herefordshire spent £315 per head on mental health, almost double the England average of £166, East Riding of Yorkshire spent just under £98 and Cambridgeshire less than £102.