The mental health sector is among the best performing areas for achieving efficiency savings under QIPP, although concerns have been raised about the sustainability of savings.

In total, 35 of the 53 local QIPP plans included specific plans for mental health, contributing £322m of savings. Of these, only five plans were rated “amber” by strategic health authorities: those to save £12.4m in Norfolk and Waveney; £20.6m in Oxfordshire; £13.2m in Surrey; £2.8m in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire; and £111,000 in Luton and Bedfordshire.

NHS North West London plans the highest saving - £65.9m -through contract negotiations with mental health providers.

Lisa Rodrigues, chief executive of Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, said her trust had made savings of 5 per cent or more for the last two years.

“The current level of savings are unsustainable,” she said. “Our partners in third sector organisations are having to make even bigger savings. Some vital services are closing altogether.”

She said mental health services were seeing increased demand caused by an ageing population and the recession, warning: “If we spend an even smaller proportion of NHS resources on mental healthcare we cause problems today but store up worse problems for the future.”