Responding to NHS Providers’ The state of the NHS provider sector report Dr Phil Moore, chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners Mental Health Commissioners Network and deputy clinical chair of NHS Kingston CCG said:
“We wholly agree that it is crucial that money committed for mental health is spent only for this purpose and also that mental health must be central to sustainability and transformation partnerships. As clinical commissioners, we are frontline clinicians who know only too well the impact that poor mental health can have on people. We are working hard with partners across the system to find the best ways to join up pathways to improve our patients’ experiences and make sure that they have access to the right care at the right time.
“We have heard from some of our members that they have faced pressure to spend money on stabilising the acute sector, rather than investing in mental healthcare and so share the concerns on this raised in today’s report. Investment in mental healthcare for children and young people is highlighted as a particular issue – we would again repeat the call we made last year for the money promised in the March 2015 budget for this vulnerable group to be ring-fenced given the historical under-investment in this vital area combined with the sheer number of financial pressures on our budgets.
“Transparency in mental health spending is important, a key part of which is making sure we consider the totality of spend. It must be recognised that while mental health trusts, like those surveyed for the NHS Providers report, provide invaluable and critical services, mental healthcare is wider than this. To get the best possible outcomes for their population, CCGs are also investing more in new models of care that focus on crisis care and recovery out of hospital, exploring new voluntary sector partnerships and investing in primary care services. We need to make sure we are looking at total service provision so that we can truly understand where the gaps are and make sure that our patients and populations are getting the care they need.
“Finally, we agree that workforce is paramount to all of this and so look forward to seeing the upcoming mental health workforce strategy from NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Improvement.”
7 July 2017