Lincolnshire’s NHS mental health trust is receiving considerably less funding than it was seven years ago, according to a report.
Findings published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists show that Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) was receiving £97.9 million in 2011/12.
Taking inflation into account this number would be worth £106.1 million today.
That is £8 million less than the income of £98.1 million the trust posted in 2016/17.
In October 2017, The Independent reported that Jeremy Hunt had said that the NHS had spent a “record” amount on mental health and had vowed to sustain a healthy level of investment for mental health services over the coming years.
The Mentalhealth.org website says mental health is a growing concern around the world and also states that 1 in 6 people within the last week will have experienced a common mental health problem.
However, LPFT says it is not alone and adds it is having to be cleverer in the way it delivers services in order to maintain high levels of care.
Sarah Connery, director of finance and information at LPFT said: “Our Trust faces a similar funding situation to that of other mental health and learning disability NHS organisations in the country. To ensure the quality of our services is maintained, we have been developing more effective and smarter ways of working.
“Thanks to careful planning, financial management and close working with commissioners we have been able to introduce a number of new services in Lincolnshire over the last few years to improve local mental health provision, including: the Hartsholme Centre – a new ward for male patients requiring intensive mental health support and Psychiatric Clinical Decisions Unit – an assessment unit for people who are experiencing a crisis or severe episode of mental ill health. Furthermore the quality of our services has been rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission.
“We will continue to work closely with our commissioners about the future of mental health and learning disability services in Lincolnshire to ensure that they are given the same priority as physical health.”
The report revealed nationally in the same eight year period the money given to the commissioning groups who decide the Trust’s budgets has been reduced by £105 million.
Danielle Hamm, associate director for Campaigns and Policy at Rethink Mental Illness says this is affecting those who will need the care most.
She said: “When mental health services are overstretched and underfunded it can mean long waiting lists, poor quality services and having to travel hundreds of miles for care, so it is vital that these Trusts are properly funded.
“While more money has been committed to mental health we’re still hearing that it is failing to reach the frontline and people are still struggling to get the support they need.
“It would be wrong to ignore how much has been achieved in the five years, but we must also recognise how much further we have to go.”
A spokesperson for South West Lincolnshire CCG, who are the lead commissioners for mental health in Lincolnshire and set the trust’s budget, said: “We are working closely with Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and our neighbouring CCGs to meet our targets around mental health, particularly parity of esteem, and will continue to do so.”