Oxfordshire mental health services face £28m shortfall

Oxfordshire CCG offices Image copyright Google
Image caption The CCG could end up with a funding gap ranging from £16m to £28m, a report said

Health bosses have warned of a funding shortfall of up to £28m for mental health services in Oxfordshire.

A report commissioned by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) revealed the CCG had the lowest funding allocation per person in England.

The NHS trust's chief executive Stuart Bell warned patients could suffer if more money was not secured.

The government said mental health funding was a "key priority".

The independent report found that, even if the CCG received its full government funding allocation, it could still end up with a funding gap ranging from £16m to £28m.

It said the government's allocation formula meant the CCG would be unlikely to receive funding close to national or regional averages in the near future.

'Treatment could take longer'

Mr Bell said staff were already dealing with high caseloads and, if additional funding was not secured, access to services could be restricted.

He said: "We will only be able to see a limited number of people and so probably that does mean access to some forms of treatment will take longer or there may be some things we're not able to provide at all.

"I think the good thing about this piece of work [report] is that it gives us a plan to avoid that situation."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "We are transforming mental health services with a record spending of £11.98bn in 2017/18 and announced a further expansion of mental health services in our long-term plan for the NHS, with an additional £2.3bn in real terms by 2023/24.

"This will give 380,000 more adults access to psychological therapies and 345,000 more children and young people greater support in the next five years and ensure that crisis care is provided through NHS 111, 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

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