A £2 billion increase in mental health funding announced in yesterday’s Budget has been welcomed by the chief executive of the NHS trust which runs mental health services in Peterborough.
Tracy Dowling said she was “proud” measures first introduced by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) are to be rolled out across the country with the extra funding.
This includes 24/7 mental health support in A&Es and a mental health crisis line along with ‘safe havens’.
The additional £2 billion forms part of the extra £20 billion a year by 2023 for the NHS in England which Theresa May announced earlier this year, although UNISON claims this is not enough to “heal the wounds caused by eight years of Tory cuts”.
Ms Dowling said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement around the increase in funding for mental health.
“For too long funding for mental health has not kept pace with demand.
“Particularly welcome are the announcements for funding for core community based mental health services, and funding to support specialist crisis services for children and young people.
“We will await the full details with interest and I also hope there will be investment in the training, development and recruitment of specialist frontline staff to deliver these services.
“We’re very proud at CPFT that innovative measures that we have put in place – our First Response Service, a 24-hour hotline for those in mental health crisis available via the NHS 111 helpline, and the 24/7 mental health support we offer to patients at our local acute hospitals, along the Sanctuary safe havens run by Mind in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – will now be rolled out across the country.
“While there is still a long way to go, yesterday’s announcement appears to be a step in the right direction and we look forward to learning about the detail so we can secure investment that is much needed in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”
Conservative parliamentary candidate for Peterborough Paul Bristow, speaking about the mental health funding, tweeted: “Proud to be a @Conservatives candidate when we announce something so important #mentalhealth.”
But Labour MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya, holding a sign saying “austerity has failed” alongside Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, tweeted: This government is not fixing the fundamentals - austerity is far from over. Austerity was always a political choice not a necessity. #Budget2018.”
UNISON Eastern regional secretary Chris Jenkinson said: “For too long mental health has been a poor relation in the NHS, so this extra funding and new crisis services are welcome.
“But the fact remains that the extra £20 billion for the NHS that Theresa May announced in June – and yesterday;s pledge comes from that pot – is nowhere near enough to heal the wounds caused by eight years of Tory cuts to our health service.
“Many hospitals across the East of England are at breaking point and the NHS urgently needs more cash to keep it from keeling over while doing nothing to stop existing private finance initiatives sucking money out of our NHS.”