Magazine article Public Finance

Mental Health Care Funding Varies Substantially

Magazine article Public Finance

Mental Health Care Funding Varies Substantially

Article excerpt

Campaigners have warned that mental health patients face a 'postcode lottery' of care, as figures for primary care trust spending revealed huge variations across the country.

The figures for PCT spending on mental health in 2006/07 were published on January 29 by care minister Phil Hope in response to a parliamentary question from veteran Conservative MP David Davis.

They show that Islington, the highest spender, put ?363 per head of population into mental health services - 3.7 times the amount spent by West Kent (?98 per head) at the other end of the spectrum. The average spending was ?170 per head.

The figures also show substantial variation even between areas with similar social and demographic profiles.

Of the top ten highest spenders, nine are London PCTs, with the top four spending over ?300 per head. But other London PCTs with similar populations - including Newham (?184) and Waltham Forest (?154) - spent far less.

Low spenders include the former mining area of Barnsley as well as rural Somerset.

Davis's constituency is covered by the second-lowest spender, East Riding of Yorkshire PCT, at ?1 13 per head. He said: 'There is a real postcode lottery when it comes to mental health spending across the country. …

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