NHS bodies told to boost mental health funds or face sanctions

NHS bodies that put too little money into improving care have been threatened with sanctions in a crackdown intended to ensure more cash reaches the frontline.

NHS England has written to all 207 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to warn that they must deliver on a key NHS-wide funding pledge in order to meet the rising demand for help.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national mental director, has ordered CCGs to ensure they boost spending on mental health by more than the size of their overall annual budget increase. CCGs are the local NHS bodies that hold the health budget for every area and pay hospital trusts to treat patients.

All CCGs must meet the mental health investment standard (MHIS) during the new NHS financial year, Murdoch said.

NHS bosses are using the policy to increase funding for psychological and psychiatric services after concern they have endured years of underinvestment.

“This is a landmark moment for England’s mental health services,” Murdoch said in the letter to CCGs.

“The requirement to increase mental health spending faster than overall growth in health spending is not only a crucial enabler of high-quality patient care, but a demonstration of the NHS’s commitment to putting mental and physical health on a level footing.

“Currently the overwhelming majority of CCGs – 85% – meet the MHIS, but nearly nine in 10 is not enough.”

Bosses of CCGs that do not comply face having to explain their failure to Murdoch or another senior NHS England official.

 

 

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