Thank you for contacting me about mental health funding and parity of esteem.
I agree with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, that while it is hugely welcome that we are on the road to parity of esteem there is still more to do. I am extremely encouraged by the news that, as part of the five-year funding offer that will see the NHS budget grow by over £20.5 billion a year, mental health services will receive an additional £2 billion per year.
I am pleased that a new mental health crisis service with comprehensive mental health support will be available in every major A&E, alongside new children and young peoples’ crisis teams across the country. The additional funding will also deliver more mental health ambulances, “safe havens” in the community; and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline when people are in urgent need of help.
I hope that these new services help end the stigma surrounding mental health, offering crucial support to people suffering from crisis and those who have suffered in silence for too long. As you may also be aware, the Prime Minister recently announced the creation of a Minister for Suicide Prevention, who will help continue the progress made in suicide prevention, with suicide rates at their lowest for seven years.
I know the Government is working to ensure mental health spending is spread across the whole country. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are required to achieve the Mental Health Investment Standard, to demonstrate they have increased their mental health spending in line with the growth in their overall budgets. I am happy to note that in 2016/17, 85 per cent of CCGs achieved this standard, and NHS England continues to work with CCGs to improve this figure.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP