More than 10 per cent of mental health trusts are having to cut back on services, the government’s national director of mental health has conceded.
The BBC reported that Prof Louis Appleby had admitted that 11 out of 84 mental health trusts were being asked to make cuts. He confessed he was “not happy” with the situation.
Prof Appleby was responding to shadow health minister Tim Loughton’s criticisms that in-the-black mental health trusts have cut services in order to assist other financially cripped trusts.
The health service is at least £600m in the red, with hospitals largely responsible for the overspend. Traditionally, different parts of the NHS have helped out neighbouring trusts which have run up deficits.
But Mr Loughton said it was particularly unfair to take resources from mental health trusts which already ran a “Cinderella service”.
“Many of these trusts are having to sacrifice parts of their budget when they have already had to shelve plans for further mental health provision in an effort to balance their books in the first place,” said Mr Loughton.
Mental health minister Rosie Winterton said, however, that mental health “remains a key priority.”
“There is no evidence to suggest mental health services are being disproportionately affected,” she told the BBC.