Ahead of the spending review, 10 London mental health trusts warn against raiding their budgets to plug funding shortfalls in acute hospitals
Claire Murdoch Wednesday 18 November 201508.30 GMTLast modified on Wednesday 18 November 2015 11.23 GMT
The NHS is facing the greatest financial challenge in its history. Figures for the first three months of the financial year reveal an accumulated NHS deficit of almost £1bn. The independent health thinktank, the Nuffield Trust, says deficits have now become the “new normal” in the NHS, with four out of five trusts now in the red. The figures for the second quarter of the financial year are feared to be significantly worse.
The position for acute hospital trusts is particularly challenging, with 98% of the total NHS accumulated deficit still in the acute sector. Despite an excellent record of financial management, deficits are growing in London’s mental health trusts due to increasing demand, an ageing population but fewer resources.
In 2014-15, London’s health commissioners spent 12% of health expenditure on mental health. In 2015-16 that fell to 11% – a transfer of funding from mental health to acute trusts. Nationally, mental ill-health currently accounts for more than 25% of the total disease burden, but mental health services receive less than half that proportion of NHS funding and the amount that goes to mental health is falling.