Mental health care providers continue to receive far smaller budget increases than hospitals, five years after ministers pledged to create “parity of esteem” between NHS mental and physical health services.
The disclosure, in a new report by the King’s Fund, has sparked concern that mental health patients are receiving poorer quality care because of the widening gap in income.
Budgets of NHS mental health trusts in England rose by less than 2.5% in 2016-17, far less than the 6% boost received by acute trusts and those providing specialist care.
It is the fifth year in a row that NHS bosses gave physical health services a larger cash increase, even though ministers have repeatedly stressed the need to give mental health services more money.
Mental health trusts in England received income increases of just 5.5% between 2012-13 and last year, whereas budgets for acute hospitals rose by 16.8% over the same period, new research by the thinktank shows.