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Government’s pledges on mental health are not backed with funding, says spending watchdog

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2330 (Published 22 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2330
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. London

The cost of implementing the government’s plans to improve mental health services is not fully understood, says a report by the National Audit Office, which examines public spending for UK parliament.1

As part of the government’s commitment to giving mental health “parity of esteem” with physical health, it set out waiting time standards for mental health services and said it would improve access to psychological therapies, early intervention in psychosis, and liaison psychiatry.

However, the costs of improving waiting times and access are unclear, the report found. The Department of Health in England said that the cost of improving access could be £160m ($230m; €200m) a year more than the £663m that clinical commissioning groups spent on these services during 2014-15. But the …

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