Mental health services will receive a £2 billion boost to funding, under plans announced by Chancellor Phillip Hammond in the 2018 Budget.
The government will increase the NHS’ budget by £20.5 billion after inflation by 2023-24. Within this, the NHS will increase mental health spending by more than £2 billion a year by 2023-24. Additionally, local authorities in England will receive a further £650 million in social care funding next year.
‘I can announce that the NHS 10 Year Plan will include a new mental health crisis service with comprehensive mental health support available in every major A&E children and young peoples’ crisis teams in every part of the country more mental health ambulances more “safe havens” in the community, and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline,’said Mr Hammond.
‘These new services will ensure that people suffering from a crisis, young or old, can get the help they need ending the stigma that has forced too many to suffer in silence and ending too the tragedy of too many lives lost to suicide.’
Reaction to the announcement has been mixed. While many applauded the government’s renewed focus on mental health, others expressed skepticism as to whether mental health services would receive the funding.
‘It’s encouraging to see that the government have committed to prioritising mental health services in the UK as part of its NHS 10 year plan,’ NMC Director of Education and Standards, Geraldine Walters said. ‘Mental health nurses provide vital mental health support to those who need it and across a range of settings, including in hospitals, schools, prisons and the community.’
‘Promising more funding is one thing – actually delivering is another.
There’s no doubt more money is needed. But the government must listen to those quitting mental health jobs every day and do more to attract and hold onto highly skilled staff,’ UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said. ‘More must be done to make mental health services safer and kinder places to work – for the benefit of patients and staff. But what we spend on the NHS in general is a fraction of what other countries pay out for healthcare. The amount announced today is likely to be swallowed by deficits, which effectively means standstill funding at a time when all of us need the NHS more.’