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Monday, 29 October 2018

Chancellor announces funding for comprehensive mental health crisis service

Written by Ella Pickover

A cash boost for mental health services will "end the stigma which has forced too many to suffer in silence", the Chancellor said.

Philip Hammond said he hoped the extra money would also end "the tragedy of too many lives lost to suicide".

Plans to boost NHS funding were announced in June ahead of the health service's 70th anniversary.

The Prime Minister said its budget would increase by £20.5 billion a year in real terms by 2023-24.

Ministers also asked NHS England to come up with a long-term plan for the health service, including how the additional funds would be spent.

The plans, which will be published later this year, will include additional funds for mental health services, particularly crisis care, Mr Hammond said.

"The NHS 10-year plan will include a new mental health crisis service with comprehensive mental health support available in every major A&E, children and young people's crisis teams in every part of the country, more mental health ambulances, more safe havens in the community and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline," Mr Hammond said.

"These new services will ensure that people suffering from a crisis, young or old, can get the help they need, ending the stigma which has forced too many to suffer in silence and ending too the tragedy of too many lives lost to suicide."

Budget documents also show schools-based mental health support will be made available and extra funds will be ploughed into services for people with severe mental illness.

Sean Duggan (pictured), chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which represents mental health and learning disability service providers, said: "The prospect of an additional £2 billion of funding for mental health by 2023-24 is a welcome step on the journey towards true parity of esteem.

"It is positive to see that specialist crisis teams for children and younger people will be set up in every part of the country as we know how important it is to address mental illness as early as possible.

"However, we must keep our eyes on the immediate needs of our core inpatient and community mental health services, and we must also remember that social care, capital budgets and public health will need additional funding."

Commenting on the confirmation of the Prime Minister's pledge in June, John Appleby, chief economist at the health think tank the Nuffield Trust, said: "After a financial squeeze of many years, much of this new money will be needed just to get the basics back on track - keeping up with rising need, addressing sliding waiting times and fixing the worrying backlog of buildings needing repair."

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