What does this tell us about her 'shared society'?
Theresa May has a lot of proposals for tackling mental health in today’s speech to the charity commission, hailed by the press as a ‘mental health revolution’.
But one thing is noticeably absent from her list of measures – extra funding.
At a time when 40 per cent of mental health trusts in England have seen budget cuts in 2015/16, £1 billion promised by Jeremy Hunt has not been ringfenced, pushing it down the list of commissioners’ priorities.
Meanwhile, 57 per cent (73 out of 128) of Clinical Commissioning Groups responded to a Freedom of Information request saying they plan to spend less on mental health in 2016/17.
This funding problem has been slammed by nine former health secretaries, who in a joint letter said:
“Despite the warm words, one year on we see the same enduring injustice, the massive economic cost and the distress suffered by countless families across the country.
Despite promised increases in funding, mental health trusts are still suffering cuts.”
Nothing in May’s speech today will address this. Instead we have training at schools and workplaces, reviews of current practices, and more services online – the latter to avoid costly face-to-face appointments.
The only case of extra money is equally telling: £15 million for ‘community care’ to keep patients from clogging up GP surgeries and A&E.
If this is a sign of things to come, May’s ‘shared society’ looks a lot like the ‘more with less’ small-state pro-business agenda we’ve come to know and despise.
She won’t fool the children of that ‘revolution’.
Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13
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