NHS mental health services will receive a £2-billion-a-year real terms funding boost by 2023 under the government’s new economic plan, the Chancellor is set to announce in Monday’s autumn budget.
Philip Hammond is expected to describe how the money will be used to provide 24/7 mental health support in every major A&E department, as well as more specialist mental health ambulances.
According to Treasury figures, the new funding will add to record levels of mental health spending, which amounted to almost £12 billion last year.
As part of the government’s plans to achieve “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health, the cash injection will also be used to form specialist mental health crisis teams for young people in each part of the country, alongside dedicated in-school teams.
Meanwhile, the NHS will help more than 55,000 people with severe mental health problems find a job through a new work placement scheme.
The announcement follows a pledge by Theresa May over the summer to increase NHS funding by £20-billion-a-year over the next five years.
However, Labour’s Barbara Keeley said the government must go further to improve mental health services by ring-fencing budgets.
“If this announcement is simply money that’s already been promised, it will do little to relieve the severe pressures on mental health services that have built up because of this Tory government’s relentless underfunding of the NHS,” the shadow mental health minister said.
“People with mental health conditions cannot afford to wait five years for meaningful action from this government: too many are already waiting many months to access the treatment they need, including children who wait six months on average to be referred to child and adolescent mental health services, leading to devastating mental health crisis.”
Hammond’s plans for NHS funding could also be skewered by Brexit, the Chancellor revealed on Sunday.
He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge that the budget would have to be abandoned in favour of a new economic plan in the case of no-deal Brexit, with the current outline based on the assumption the UK will be able to strike a deal with the EU.
Want to know more about the autumn budget ahead of Monday’s big announcement. Check out HuffPost UK’s pre-budget explainer here.