• Community and young people’s mental health services to receive most funding 
  • National plan for mental health will target increase in workforce of 27,460
  • Inpatient services to receive very little long-term plan funding

Community and young people’s mental health services will receive the lion’s share of the sector’s long-term plan funding, while inpatient services are promised very little, new guidance has revealed.

The national commissioner has published detailed spending plans for mental health services over the next five years, which clinical commissioning groups will have to adhere to.

According to the plan, the area gaining the biggest increases in investment will be adult community services, which is set to receive £975m in additional recurrent funding by 2023-24. Budgets for children’s and young people’s services will be uplifted by £904m over the same period.

Across the other eight long-term plan areas, money is also primarily targeted at community-based services.

The current baseline expenditure for each service area has not been set out, so it is not known what proportion of the overall budgets they will take up by 2023-24, or by what percentage they are set to grow.

Budgets for inpatient mental health services will be uplifted by just £41m by 2023-24. This funding is earmarked primarily to increase the number of staff delivering therapies, and there are no ambitions for an overall increase in mental health beds outlined in the document.

NHS England said some areas may need to increase beds, but “many local areas are significantly over the national average for lengths of stay”.

In January, NHS England announced mental health services would be getting a £2.3bn real terms increase in its overall spending budget by 2023-24, equating to a £3.4bn cash increase. This was based on a baseline of £8.9bn.

However, the implementation guidance only outlines a £3bn cash increase, leaving £400m unaccounted for.

When asked to explain the gap, the national commissioner told HSJ additional cash would be available to CCGs to cover additional inflationary costs for current services, such as agenda for change increases.

The document also reveals targets to increase the mental health workforce by just over 27,460, including 10,880 additional community staff.

All sustainability and transformation partnership areas will be required to submit five-year plans on how they will meet mental health targets by September this year.

Join us at the HSJ Transforming Mental Health Summit (28-29 November 2019, Hilton Leeds) as senior peers from across the NHS, local authority and wider mental health service delivery landscape to discuss the remaining challenges as we reach the end of the Five Year Forward View. Register your interest here: http://bit.ly/2KbYAzJ