Mental health services are very unlikely to see any of the £15 billion in funding announced by the government in the first week of September, according to sources reported in the HSJ, despite NHS England’s estimates of around 10 million people who would benefit from these services. The money is earmarked for reducing the backlog in elective surgery, so once again mental health services takes second place to physical health.
Not only do mental health services lag behind in funding, it is probably the area most reliant on private companies to provide services. As the NHS’s capacity to deal with demand for mental health services, particularly inpatient services, fell over the years, private companies have been given substantial contracts to provide much of the inpatient care needed. So any money mental health services receive is in part paid to private companies in the business of making a profit out of caring for some of the NHS’s most vulnerable patients.
Yet the standard of care provided by some of these providers has been the subject of repeated criticism by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Two of the leading companies are Cygnet Healthcare and The Priory, both of which receive millions from the NHS and local authorities each year.
Let’s look at Cygnet Healthcare, which in 2020 received almost all of its £456.3 million in revenue from public organisations – the NHS, clinical commissioning groups, and local authorities.
Full story in The Lowdown, 20 September 2021