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Mental health services hit by cutbacks

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WIGAN’S mental health services have been hit by funding cuts which has brought about serious concerns from health chiefs and charities.

The 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust confirmed that overall funding has been cut in the past two financial years but insist Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (WBCCG) – who now control the borough’s health budget – have agreed to increase funding next year.

A spokesman for the 5 Boroughs said: “Although we have seen a small reduction to our overall Trust-wide budget in the past two financial years, Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group increased its allocation to the Trust from 2012/13 to 2013/14.

“With their support we have continued to maintain our service provision; enhance it in some areas and also improve quality – as demonstrated by our recent national award wins in the fields of patient experience; nursing and performance.”

However the cuts in funding have caused concern among some health professionals.

Prof Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Even small cuts at this time can have a disproportionately large effect on the welfare of our patients.

“The services are stretched to their limit and if they stretch any further, the elastic band is going to snap.”

This view was also shared by health ministers.

Care & Support Minister, Norman Lamb said: “It is completely unacceptable for local commissioners to disadvantage mental health in the allocation of funds to local health services.

“This completely conflicts with the government’s clear position that there must be parity of esteem – equality – between mental and physical health.”

 

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