JAN 23, 1997, M2 Communications - Responding to the King's Fund Report on London's Mental Health Services, Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell said today: "I accept that mental health services in London are under pressure. Mental health has for many years been the cinderella service but in the last five years there has been a striking shift in priorities. Mental health services have moved up the agenda and there has been real progress. "The funding formula has been changed to reflect the fact that there is a higher incidence of mental illness in London and consequently greater pressure on the services. We will keep the formula under review and if it can be demonstrated that it is not appropriately reflecting patient need then we will change it again. "In fact this report's findings confirm, and draw on, information we have gathered from our own recent reviews, justifying the extra spending of GBP 25 million in London and the wide range of initiatives we have put in place to improve mental health services."
These include: approaching GBP 90 million in social care spending stimulated by the Mental Illness Specific Grant over five years; an extra GBP 45 million over two years for health authorities from the Mental Health Challenge Fund and the Mental Health Emergency Pressures Fund; GBP 15 million from the Strategic Assistance Fund for mentally disordered offenders; a Green Paper, due to be published in a few weeks, which will canvass proposals for improving the delivery of mental health services; Mr Dorrell added: "I instigated a review of each health authority's plan to improve the delivery of comprehensive mental health services. Their work is being closely scrutinised by the NHS Executive. Mental health is one of the Government's top priorities. It is a complex area that needs a sustained effort to ensure that high quality, comprehensive services are available across the country."
Notes to Editors
1. Inner London health authorities spend, on average, 18.6 per cent of their total budget on mental health compared to 13.7 per cent in other inner city health authorities.
2. Examples of recent service developments include the provision, at a total cost of more than GBP 17 million, of: a new 54 bed acute unit in Hounslow; a new 30 bed acute unit in Epping; a new 40 bed medium secure unit in Hackney; a further 29 medium secure beds in Ealing; new community mental health teams in Sutton, Kingston and Richmond; new oncall community nursing services and A&E intervention service in Bexley and Greenwich.
3. Close monitoring of the health authorities' plans for provision of mental health services allows the NHS Executive Regional Offices to ensure progress is made and to target support at those health authorities and providers with the greatest problems. 4. The pressures on local authorities are also recognised with the allocation of GBP 9.940 million (20 per cent) of the mainstream Mental Illness Support Grant (MISG), GBP 9.900 million (31.5 per cent) of the MISG Target Fund, and GBP 2.200 million (76 per cent) of the Homeless Mentally Ill Initiative Fund to London Local Authorities.
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