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CCGs expected to stump up more for ailing mental health services

NHS England unveils funding allocations and New Year plan for sustainable NHS

Caroline White

Monday, 22 December 2014

To redress relative underinvestment in mental health services, every CCG will be expected to use part of its share of the extra cash allocated to the NHS to boost funding for local mental health services next year, NHS England has stipulated in new planning guidance.

The guidance is designed to convert the Five Year Forward View into reality, and make best use of the £1.98 billion of additional funding for NHS frontline services for 2014-16 announced earlier this month.

Primary care, local CCGs, and specialised services stand to get £1.5 billion of the extra cash, with proportionally more of the money allocated to those areas of the country with the greatest health needs, where the population is growing rapidly, and where services are under greatest pressure.

The remaining £480 million will be used to support transformation in primary care, mental health, and local health economies.

CCGs will be expected to increase funding for mental health services to at least reflect the percentage rise in overall funds they are allocated.

A further £110 million of central funding will be used to improve services for people with severe mental health problems, anxiety and depression, and eating disorders, particularly children and adolescents, says NHS England.

The guidance sets outs seven approaches to overhauling illness prevention, with England set to become the first country to implement a national evidence-based diabetes prevention programme.

And it describes how the NHS will speed up innovation to become a world-leader in genomic medicine and testing and evaluating new ideas and techniques.

It is the first time that the annual planning guidance has been jointly produced for the entire NHS, by NHS England, Public Heath England, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority, the Care Quality Commission and Health Education England.

The local NHS must work together to ensure patients receive the standards guaranteed by the NHS Constitution, it says.

Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “We are allocating extra cash for towns, cities and villages across England to help the local NHS meet the rising demands and changing needs of the patients we’re all here to serve. It’s clear the health service can’t just keep running to catch up. Instead we need to begin to radically reshape the way we care for patients.”

NHS Confederation Chief Executive, Rob Webster said that the guidance “represents progress on most of the actions we and 20 other leading bodies said were essential to secure the safe future of the health and care system, when we published the 2015 Challenge Manifesto earlier this year.”

He continued: “The crucial next step is for the national bodies to make sure they play their part in making this happen. It is vital they support local leadership in practice as well as on paper, with a new, mature relationship between national bodies and the local NHS built on trust and respect.”

He added: "It is also clear that the demands of meeting quality standards, waiting and treatment time targets, and finances will be incredibly tough again next year. Quality and finance have always been two sides of the same coin.

"Even the best joint efforts of commissioners and providers in some local areas might not head off the very real prospect of overload. This will require a mature conversation and support to be offered - we cannot allow NHS leaders and staff working in challenged economies to be firmly squashed between a rock and a hard place.”

The Forward View into action: planning for 2015/16

View details of the allocations letter and the annexes

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