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Armed Forces: Mental Health Services

Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on mental health care services in each year since 2001. (295086)

The majority of mental healthcare for service personnel is provided through MOD’s 15 military-run Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMHs) in the UK (with additional centres in Germany, Cyprus and Gibraltar), which have since 2004 provided out-patient mental healthcare for members of the armed forces. Responsibility for their individual management is shared between the single service commands, with oversight from the Joint Medical Command. However, each service funds its respective DCMHs differently. Owing to the number of different internal budgets to which costs would be attributable, any detailed analysis of DCMH finances would therefore incur disproportionate costs.

In-patient care, when necessary, is provided in specialised psychiatric units under contract with an external provider. Between April 2004 and March 2009, this was provided by the Priory Group, and costs in each financial year are contained in the following table:

Contract value (£ million)

1 December 2003-31 March 2004


1 April 2004-31 March 2005


1 April 2005-31 March 2006


1 April 2006-31 March 2007


1 April 2007-31 March 2008


1 April 2008-31 March 2009


These figures take into account the cost of assessing patients as well as any treatment programmes provided; the individual care needs of each patient will vary depending on their particular medical circumstances. They also include services provided by the Priory Group between 1 December 2003 and April 2004 prior to the formal contract start date.

The contract with the Priory Group has been replaced by a new one, awarded in November 2008 following open competition, with a partnership of seven NHS trusts led by South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust. Costs for its first full 12 months of operation will be available in spring 2010.

Prior to April 2004, in-patient care was provided at MOD’s Duchess of Kent Psychiatric Hospital at Catterick. Full historic costs back to 2001 are not available, although costs in its final year of operation (2002-03) were some £10 million.