Cuts in regional mental health funding ‘a body blow to patients on Teesside’

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (August 10th 2012) hit out at new figures released by the Department of Health which showed a real cut in funding for mental health services in the area covered by the Northern Strategic Health Authority, an area that includes Teesside.

Tom said:
“The Health Department figures show a regional cut for adult mental health services of 2.6% which, in cash terms, equates to £359,544. Nationally more attention and cash is going to this field, yet this cut means that this area is the second worse in England and Wales for mental health funding.

“This cash would have been going to local outreach services at health centres and would have also underpinned direct mental health service provided by the Tees, Wear and Esk Health Trust.

“There are two special areas of concern to me. Firstly, it is self-evident and well documented that mental health and mental distress rises when people are under social strain from unemployment and poverty – and we have enough of both on Teesside. We need more cash – not less – for this vital field of medical care.

“Secondly, I am worried that these cuts will also mean that the new Clinical Commissioning Groups, who will be replacing Primary Care Trusts on Teesside as a result of Andrew Lansley’s NHS reorganisation, will be factoring in these cuts into their plans for service from next year. This could mean that the cuts could be disproportionally inflicted on local community services, and it is just these services which are crucial to early intervention in mental health care.

“Once again it has been proven you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.”

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