Mental healthcare is heading for a crisis as the majority of funding dedicated to services is not making its way through to the frontline, according to worried heads of NHS trusts across the country.
A report from NHS Providers, the membership organisation and trade association for the NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health service, revealed that only one in 10 NHS mental health trusts believe they are managing demand and planning for further unmet needs. Meanwhile, 80% said the extra funding meant for mental health at a national level is not making it to the local frontline services.
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More than 70% of trusts expect demand for mental health services to outstrip their ability to provide effective care.
NHS Providers’ director of policy and strategy Saffron Cordery said: ‘These concerns point to a growing gap between the government’s welcome ambition for the care of people with mental health needs and the reality of services they are receiving on the front line.
‘In some cases, core mental health service provision is actually getting worse.’
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Just over half (52%) of trusts were confident they could provide high-quality care while 61% said they might not have enough staff in six months to provide satisfactory care.
Mental health chair for NHS Clinical Commissioners Phil Moore said: ‘Transparency in mental health spending is important, making sure we consider the totality of spend.
‘We need to make sure we are looking at total service provision so that we can truly understand where the gaps are.’
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The report points out that increased focus on mental health and pressures in society will generate more demand.
The report calls for the government to find ways to guarantee that mental health funding reaches frontline services and a ‘robust workforce strategy’ combined with support at local level to make it happen.