Budget: Hammond announces £2bn mental health services boost
The Chancellor has announced that NHS mental health services to are get an extra £2bn a year by 2023 as part of his Autumn Budget.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Philip Hammond announced the creation of a new mental health crisis service for the NHS, which will include mental health support available in every major accident and emergency department and children and young peoples’ crisis teams in every part of the country.
“There are many pressing demands on additional NHS funding, but few more pressing than the needs of those who suffer from mental illness,” he told MPs.
The Chancellor added the new service will also include a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline.
“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,” said Mr Hammond.
The Chief Executive of the mental health charity Mind, Paul Farmer, said the £2bn should be seen as a “down-payment” for future services.
“One way to accelerate improvement is to make sure that mental health is a priority across the whole of the NHS, with significant investment in areas such as prevention, primary care and mental health support for people with long-term physical health conditions,” said Mr Farmer.
“If the £2bn is for mental health services specifically, we should expect to see investment in other parts of the NHS on top of this.”
And practising GP and the Chief Executive of video therapy company Mynurva, Dr Zain Sikafi, said the £2bn announced by the Chancellor will not go far enough.
“Just recently depression moved up to take second place on the GP list of common illnesses, overtaking obesity,” said Dr Sikafi.
“It’s become clear that the mental health crisis warrants a significant commitment if we are to tackle the problem and improve services across the country. And yet still only a fraction of total NHS spending will be directed towards mental health, undermining the Government’s ambition to put mental health on equal footing with physical health,” he added.