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Mental health services reeling from funding crisis

Psychologists’ survey highlights NHS mental health funding crisis


Mental health services are reeling from a funding crisis, low morale and increased workloads, says a survey of NHS applied psychologists released by Unite.

Unite’s survey coincides with today’s World Mental Health Day against a background of broken promises from health secretary Jeremy Hunt on mental health funding and a time when 25 per cent of UK adults suffer mental health problems in any one year.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “Our survey of our NHS applied psychologists is another ‘wake-up’ call that mental health services in the UK are reeling from a perfect storm of budget cuts, low morale and increased – and unsustainable – workloads, which impact adversely on patient care.

“Jeremy Hunt needs to address the funding crisis to deliver a well- qualified and trained workforce, better leadership and an end of practices that cause stress, fear and, ultimately, lead to highly qualified professionals departing the NHS, at a time when their skills are needed more than ever as mental health waiting lists get longer and longer.”

Chair of Unite’s applied psychologists professional committee Antony Vassalos added: “What applied psychologists across the UK are saying, loud and clear, is that they are being worn down by changes and major cuts in their services which are definitely not in the interest of patients, leading, as the survey shows, to increased stress at work and poor morale within the profession." 


Key findings from the survey include: 

  • 96 per cent of respondents believe the government's current public sector pay policy is unfair 
  • 81 per cent said their workloads have increased either a little or a lot over the past 12 months 
  • 35 per cent have seriously considered leaving their NHS posts in the past 12 months. 
  • 73 per cent said that over the past 12 months their morale was worse or a lot worse 
  • 77 per cent frequently or always work more than their contracted working hours and often those extra hours are worked unpaid 

Last month, Freedom of Information requests revealed that Jeremy Hunt was failing to meet his pledge to boost mental health funds with more than half of the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) saying they will have to reduce mental health spending in this financial year.



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