Knowledge & Insight

Mental Health Funding Crisis

Tue 24 March 2015

According to research carried out by the BBC and social care hub Community Care, funding for Mental Health services has fallen by 8.25% in real terms since 2010. The research is based upon figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and relates to 43 of England’s 56 NHS Mental Health Trusts, with data showing that funding has gone from £6.7bn in 2010-2011 down to an estimated £6.6bn for 2014-2015. Crucially, this squeeze on funding has come at a time when referrals to mental health teams has increased sharply, causing a crisis in service provision.

Dangerously overstretched mental health services

The most obvious impact from this decline in funding has been the reduction in the number of training places for mental health nurses. As highly trained specialist nurses leave the NHS, there are not enough newly qualified nurses to take their places, and this shortfall is having a serious impact on service. The issue has been compounded by an estimated 30% increase in the number of referrals to mental health services, and the inevitable result is increased workloads, heightened pressure on staff, and dangerously overstretched services in many areas.

A shortfall in service provision

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind, commented on the organisation’s website that, “The impact of these cuts falls squarely on patient care… demand has been increasing as more and more people come forward and seek help. The treatment gap for mental health is huge – 75 per cent of people with mental health problems get no help at all.” These concerns are shared by leading figures across the mental health sector, and Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has summed up the situation by saying “We are being asked to do more with less.”  And this is the essence of the challenge that faces mental health professionals across the UK.

The challenge of doing more with less

The challenge of doing more with less is shared by front-line professionals, mangers and executive teams, and meeting the challenge requires talented people with the vision, expertise and experience to maintain service quality under very demanding conditions. It requires leaders who can motivate staff, maintain service provision within tight commercial constraints, and drive efficiencies without causing negative impact on quality. Yet it’s no surprise that finding and recruiting such people is a significant challenge in itself, and one that requires the services a specialist mental health recruitment firm.

Mental health executive search

Stone Executive is a leading mental health executive search firm. Our team of mental health head hunters boasts a professional network that spans the UK and beyond. As experts in mental health executive recruitment, we understand the unique challenges facing employers, and we have an outstanding track-record of successfully identifying, engaging and attracting high-calibre professionals and executives for a diverse range of senior roles in the mental health sector.

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