DOCTORS are set to spend just seven per cent of their budget on mental health despite huge rises in the numbers asking for help.
By 2015/16, the Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group will spend £14,024,000 out of £187,233,000 with the rest of the money being allocated to physical health services.
This has dropped from the eight per cent previously given to mental health in 2013/14 – amounting to £13,493,000 of £178,337,000.
The percentage decrease comes despite ensuring people with long-term conditions including mental ill health get the best possible quality of life being one of the ambitions the NHS is focusing on.
The group, which contains all 22 GP practices across both towns, has also identified redesigning mental health pathways and a ‘wellness’ approach as one of the key ways to improve the health of residents.
Mental health is one of the CCG’s seven local priorities and also features among the four priorities for Worcestershire set out by the Health and Wellbeing Board.
A total of 72 of the 142 (67 per cent) of Trusts which responded to a Freedom of Information request by Luciana Berger MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health, spent less than ten per cent of their budget on mental health.
The worst was Surrey Heath which spent just £7million of its £107million budget (6.55 per cent) and Solihull which spent 6.69 per cent while West London and Central London allocated 18.02 per cent and 17.31 per cent respectively.
A CCG spokesman said they would hold reserves for future investments in mental health as the national strategy emerged and had no plans to disinvest in mental health services.
In real terms, the increase over the three years from 2013/14 to 2015/16 was 7.6 per cent for Redditch and Bromsgrove, 6.9 per cent in Wyre Forest and 5.8 per cent in South Worcestershire.
Coun Marcus Hart, chair of the Health and Wellbeing board, said: “In the case of mental health, there is a wish to shift our spend across the county towards prevention and low level interventions.
“The overall increase in budget is good news for people in Redditch and Bromsgrove.”