Dr Andrew McCulloch's reaction to the Comprehensive Spending Review

Release Date: 20 October 2010

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

Dr Andrew McCulloch's reaction to the Comprehensive Spending Review:

Overview

“We welcome Mr Osborne’s announcement that scientific research funding is to be protected and spending on health and social care, particularly on psychological therapies and dementia care, is to be increased. However, as many people with mental health problems are as reliant on the support they receive through benefits and social housing as they are on health and social care, we need swift clarification on how the benefits changes will be introduced and on how the very modest numbers of social houses will be allocated, to ensure that the investment in health and social care and research is not undermined by reductions elsewhere. It is also crucial that those in charge of health and social care budgets conduct serious evidence-based reviews of existing services, to ensure that the most cost-effective services are implemented and Mr Osborne’s objective of squeezing the most out of the spending review is met.”

Cuts in social housing expenditure

“The dramatic cuts in expenditure on social housing are a serious concern. People with chronic mental health problems are often reliant on social housing, and the proposed construction of just 150,000 new homes is unlikely to sufficiently redress the current shortage. The possible removal of social housing for life – a source of necessary security that can aid the recovery of chronic mental health problems – could also prove to be false economy as such individuals remain reliant on state support for longer due to the anxiety caused.”

Research

“A freeze in investment in scientific and healthcare research is a positive result given the economic climate. However, considering mental health problems have been calculated to cost the economy over £105bn a year, providing even a modest increase in mental health research funding, of the magnitude pledged to transport infrastructure or green technologies,  would have been a wise investment in future savings.”

Benefits

“Many people with mental health problems benefit from stability of secure income and housing. Following Mr Osborne’s announcements that the benefit budget is to be reduced, we need swift clarification on the implications this will have for people with mental health problems, to minimise any anxiety caused by the uncertainty. Accurate and fair mental health assessments by trained professionals need to be a crucial part of this clarification, as being forced back to work too early could delay an individual’s recovery and increase their reliance on benefits long-term.”

Social care funding

“Many people with mental health problems are as reliant on social care as they are on NHS healthcare. We therefore welcome the proposed increase in funding for social care. The extra £2bn will hopefully go some way to improving what are often currently underfunded services.”

Health costs – opportunities for greater savings

“Naturally, we are pleased that NHS spending is due to increase slightly in real terms over the course of the parliament, particularly that proposed for psychological therapies and dementia care. It is now incumbent upon service providers to ensure that we return optimum value for money on this investment. This would involve expanding the use of preventative and early-intervention measures that have been shown to be more cost-effective than standard care in a range of mental health conditions, and reviewing our use of existing practices such as extended hospital stays and expensive out-of-area placements, which evidence suggests represent poorer value care. Mental health problems cost the economy over £105bn a year. Such a comprehensive, evidence-based review of our service model and protection of our social care services therefore has the potential to do more to aid our economic recovery than many of the measures detailed by Mr Osborne today.”