"Postcode lottery" threatening quality health care for people with mental health issues

The Guardian has report on Freedom of Information requests by Shadow Public Health Minister Luciana Berger to England’s 211 CCGs have shown that 72 out of 142 CCGs which responded spend less than 10% of their budget on mental health services, while noting significant differences among different CCGs in the part of the budget devoted to such services, creating what the Shadow Minister called an “alarming postcode lottery”. Percentages varied from 6.55% by the Surrey Heath CCG (the lowest) and Eastern and Western Devon (6.74%) to 18.02% in West London (the highest).

Commenting on the figures, Mike Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, stated that “The level of support available to people with mental illness is massively inconsistent across the country. Huge numbers of people who are in crisis are waiting years for treatments such as early intervention care which have been proven to help people get better”.

From April 2015, the coalition has introduced maximum waiting times for mental health treatment for the first time, thus ending what Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb described as “an institutional bias against mental health” in the NHS.