While outlining his growth plan, Jeremy Hunt has informed the House of Commons that Britain will avoid a recession in 2023. The Chancellor has recently announced the latest forecast from the Office of Budget Responsibility, which predicts that the Prime Minister’s objectives to halve inflation, reduce debt, and boost the economy will be achieved. He has praised Rishi Sunak’s plan for the country, stating that they are following the plan and that it is working.
However, Sarb Bajwa, chief executive of the British Psychological Society, has expressed concern over the lack of attention given to the NHS in the Spring Budget, which he believes is a worrying indication of the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges faced by the under-resourced health service. He emphasized that the NHS crisis cannot be ignored any further.
“With demand for mental health services soaring and long waiting lists for patients, it’s clear the government needs to take urgent action. We welcome the new investment in community suicide prevention services, but it’s vital the government provides funding for more early intervention and prevention services, to help people before their mental health reaches crisis point.”
The British Psychological Society, together with the Association of Clinical Psychologists-UK (ACP-UK), has been campaigning for the Government to include a minimum of one year’s ring-fenced funding for NHS staff mental health and well-being hubs, which have been a lifeline for health and social care staff needing support for their mental health. Current funding for the hubs is due to end on 31 March.
“It is extremely disappointing that the government has once again missed an opportunity to support NHS and social care staff, by committing to additional funding for the cost-effective mental health and wellbeing hubs.
“It’s unacceptable that the future of the hubs remains in a devastating limbo, despite proving to help keep staff in their jobs and reduce sickness absence. With at least four hubs announcing their closure by the end of this month, more will soon follow suit. We strongly urge the government to intervene to protect staff well-being and patient safety.
“While we acknowledge the government’s funding announcement for mental health and musculoskeletal resources for workers, it is unclear if this will extend to NHS and social care staff. They require quick access to tailored mental health support from the hubs to help them remain in their roles and provide the level of care patients need and deserve.
“Alongside our partners, we will continue to campaign for the hubs to receive the funding they need to continue their work, and be a lifeline to a workforce that’s on its knees.”
In its Spring Budget submission, the BPS called for more funding for community-based services and adult social care for autistic people and those with learning difficulties.
“We are particularly pleased to see the government commit funding to help remove barriers to work for people with disabilities and mental health problems.
“We know a significant number of people with learning disabilities or severe mental health problems want to work, and we hope the new funding will enable investment in more accessible community-based services to provide people with long-term support.”