2018 Budget brings focus on mental health and high streets

2018 Budget brings focus on mental health and high streets

October 29, 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond has today pledged that funding for mental health services will grow as a share of the overall NHS budget over the next 5 years, and that HM Government will ensure that public health services will help people live longer, healthier lives.

In his 2018 Budget statement the Chancellor said that the focus on mental health services would take pressure off Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and other public services.

Mr Hammond also set out a cut to business rates by a third for all retailers in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less, and announced a ‘Future High Streets Fund’ worth £675m to help Councils to transform local high streets.

Announcing the Budget, Mr Hammond made the following points about health and social care:

  • The NHS Ten Year Plan will include a mental health crisis service, with comprehensive mental health support available in every A&E;
  • This focus on mental health will include the provision of more safe havens in the community;
  • The Budget provides an additional £240 million in 2018-19 and £240 million in 2019-20 for adult social care which will make sure people can leave hospital when they are ready; and
  • HM Government will ensure that public health services help people live longer, healthier lives.

The Budget announcement did not reveal any further details about the additional £20bn NHS funding as we await publication of the NHS Ten Year Plan, but the Chancellor did state that HM Government has set five financial tasks for the NHS as follows:

  • the NHS (including providers) will return to financial balance;
  • the NHS will achieve cash-releasing productivity growth of at least 1.1% a year (with a final number to be confirmed in the plan), with all savings reinvested in frontline care;
  • the NHS will reduce the growth in demand for care through better integration and prevention (with a final number to be confirmed in the plan);
  • the NHS will reduce variation across the health system, improving providers’ financial and operational performance; and
  • the NHS will make better use of capital investment and its existing assets to drive transformation.

Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive, said:

“Public finances continue to remain very tight and this is certainly the case for the NHS which has been set some stretching financial challenges by HM Government. As expected, little detail about future health funding was revealed as we await publication of the NHS Ten Year Plan, but it is clear that prevention, and how we can reduce demand for services and help people to live longer, healthier lives, remains a key focus. Community pharmacies have the potential to contribute much of value in this area, acting as health and wellbeing hubs on local high streets, and we will continue strongly to make the case for that.

The reduction in business rates may bring welcome relief for some smaller community pharmacy businesses, and we were also pleased to note HM Government’s funding to help transform local high streets. Community pharmacies can provide a focal point for high streets, offering local communities a range of services that can help them to stay healthy and manage any conditions.

Community pharmacies have much to offer both high streets and the NHS, and we look forward to working with the other pharmacy organisations and HM Government to maximise this potential.”

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