Mind comments on Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health survey of NHS mental health trust finance directors
Posted Wednesday 19 July 2006
Commenting on the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health report (1), Sophie Corlett, Mind's Policy Director, said:
"The Sainsbury Centre's timely report adds to the growing evidence for what we already know - that when it comes to money, mental health is always last in line. These services are an easy target, often not considered as essential as other health provision. But mental health can be a life or death issue.
The survey found finance directors very concerned about the future, and that's what our local Mind associations (LMAs) are telling us, too. They're suffering directly from statutory funding cuts. Our East Suffolk LMA is now expected to provide the same services with less funding, and are anticipating an even greater demand as clients come to them from NHS-run services that have been closed. Because of the cuts, they had to freeze their staff pay this year. Oxfordshire's LMA is gearing itself up for the knock-on effect of NHS service closures, and struggling with the effect of Supporting People budget cuts on their own services.
The Government say they want to improve access to services - yet there are cuts taking place all over the country. This impacts hugely on the well-being of people who rely on the care and support which those services provided.
Cutting services is a false economy - when services are there to help people in the early stages of mental distress, they can prevent their health problems getting worse. Services stretched to breaking point are forced to concentrate on the acute end of the spectrum, and the early interventions and 'softer' work that prevent people getting worse bear the brunt of the cuts. Yet it is these services which save money in the long term."
1) The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health report, Under Pressure: The finances of mental health trusts in 2006. SCMH surveyed finance directors at mental health trusts in England, and found that more than half of England's mental health trusts have seen money diverted away from them to pay for deficits in other local health services.