FINANCE: The president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has said she is “deeply concerned” by a strategic health authority’s decision to cut a mental health budget in favour of cancer spending.

NHS London has confirmed it will be moving £2.2m from the £3.5m pan-London mental health research budget to its cancer programme.

The SHA is allocated the money for research and analysis annually by the Department of Health.

College president Sue Bailey said it was “deeply concerned” by the move. “We understand the huge challenges faced by NHS organisations, but mental health must not be seen as an easy target.

“Can you imagine the public outcry if it was the other way round – if money was being taken off cancer services, audit and research to fund mental health services?”

An NHS London spokesman said exactly where the axe would fall had not yet been decided.

In a statement the SHA said: “Improving cancer services is one of our highest priorities, but spending more on all areas just isn’t possible. All savings will be made through reducing duplication and unnecessary administration and limiting the use of expensive outside agencies.”