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Mental Health

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will assess the impact on the funding of mental health and learning disability services in Northamptonshire of the merger of the county’s primary care trusts. (96607)

[holding answer 24 October 2006]: The Department does not expect any mental health or learning disability service to be asked to contribute more in financial savings or cost improvement plans, than any other service in the local health economy, unless that service contributed to the deficit. Where mental health services are being asked to put up money this year to assist the health community overall, then they should get it back in the following financial year, as set out in the Operating Framework 2006-07.

The Department’s recovery and support unit, as part of its performance management of strategic health authorities (SHAs), is investigating cases brought to its attention, to determine if financial plans have failed to observe the above principles. In particular, if mental health services’ contribution to savings constitute a greater percentage of their turnover, than that of other local providers (as a rule of thumb, mental health services should not be contributing above the local average).

Where it is agreed that the expected savings are disproportionate, the SHA, following discussions with the relevant PCT, will be asked to write to Richard Cleave, director of performance, providing:

The rationale for the disproportionate savings;

a commitment to reduce the savings expected to be made by mental health providers in 2007-08, by the same amount they have been asked to over-contribute this year;

an affirmation of their commitment to deliver their local development plans in mental health for early intervention, crisis resolution and the community development workers.