NHS England responded to an investigation carried out by the Community Care and BBC News last week by stating, ‘Spending on mental health is now going up in real terms after years when services were under real pressure.’
The statement was attributed to Dr Martin McShane, NHS England’s director for people with long-term conditions. It was met with surprise by some in the mental health sector.
With services apparently under severe strain and pressures, a ‘real terms’ increase (a spending boost that lands above inflation) in funding this year would be welcome news. Especially following investigations by Community Care and BBC News, as well as the Health Service Journal which found mental health trusts had their budgets cut by 2.3% in real-terms between 2011-2012 and 2013-2014.
The NHS attempted to defend their claims by providing spending forecasts which demonstrate the increase in spending throughout the year.
This is being viewed as another attempt by the NHS to provide transparency and justification for where funding goes and how the organisation manages the national service.
The NHS willingly providing the BBC and Community Care with an explanation of their claims accompanied with evidence and figures is a reassuring gesture to the public, who have demanded more transparency.