Mental health cash welcomed

Alan Frew
Alan Frew
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The Chancellor’s announcement that more money is to be pumped into mental health services has been welcomed in Lancashire.

Alan Frew, founder and managing director of Preston-headquartered home care specialist, Community Life Choices, said: “Mental health care is one of the biggest unmet needs of our time and it’s promising to see the chancellor pledge a further £600m in funding.

“What he failed to address is how we’re expected to raise standards when local authorities in England spend just one per cent of their annual health budget on tackling these issues.

“Personalised home care support for just one individual saves the taxpayer around £90,000 a year compared to residential stay costs.

“Yet ministers can do more to increase these savings even further.

“In order to achieve this, individuals with chronic health needs require better support in managing their own health budgets and integrating them back into the community. “

George Osborne faced criticism for offering an immediate £3.8 billion cash injection for the NHS while planning cuts in other areas, including public health.

He used his spending review to confirm that social care – which experts say cannot be viewed separately from the NHS – can expect a cash boost via local councils.

Adding two per cent to council tax would raise up to £2 billion if all councils adopt the new precept, which must be spent on adult social care, he told MPs.

Mr Osborne also said he expects the NHS to deliver £22 billion of efficiency savings in England.

The Department of Health has agreed a 25 per cent cut from its Whitehall budget.

He said there would be 800,000 more elective hospital admissions, five million more outpatient appointments, two million more diagnostic tests, cancer testing within four weeks. It would mean “a brilliant NHS available seven days a week”.

Mr Osborne also set out plans to “modernise” nurse training, lifting the cap on student nurses, but replacing bursaries for nurses with loans. He said currently over half of all applicants are turned away, and it leaves hospitals relying on agencies and overseas staff.