NHS planning guidance must translate into front line funding and an unambiguous focus on mental health within STPs

26 September 2016

In the wake of the latest NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance, the Cavendish Square Group is calling for all Strategic and Transformation Plans (STPs) to have an unambiguous focus on mental health and for funding to be made available on the front lines.

“NHS England’s planning guidance for 2017-19 contains among the strongest commitments we’ve seen to mental health and the equality of care between mental and physical health agenda,” says Paul Jenkins, vice chair of the Cavendish Square Group and chief executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

“Of particular note is the drive to eliminate out-of-area placements for non-specialist acute care by 2020-21 and deliver a 24/7 integrated care service in each STP by the spring of 2020. This aligns strongly with the Cavendish Square Group priority that London must have the right capacity in all settings – inpatient and community – to meet the increasing demands of a growing population.

“London is, and has always been a hub of innovation in mental health. We’re committed to delivering ambitious transformations on the ground but need an unambiguous focus on mental health within each Strategic Transformation Plan and commitment from commissioners that the necessary funds will reach us on the front line. Providers need to see the promised investment coming through locally if we’re to be able to deliver the life-changing treatment and interventions that we know our services and staff are capable of.

“In London, the picture of investment in recent years has been mixed – with some trusts seeing static budgets, others marginal increases, and others even reductions. We hope that this strong commitment within the planning guidance to mental health will usher in a new period of collaboration between providers and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to deliver the necessary uplift in investment.”

The Cavendish Square Group is a collaboration between the ten London NHS trusts responsible for mental health services. It is committed to driving up standards in mental health provision for all age groups, reducing the life expectancy gap for people experiencing mental ill-health and making London the most mental health friendly city in the world.