Total spending on mental health

19 October 2016
What was claimed

Government spending on mental health services is now £11.7 billion.

Our verdict

This is the right figure, but it’s only an estimate.

“We are actually investing more in mental health services, an estimated record £11.7 billion”

Theresa May, 19 October 2016

It’s not possible to give an exact figure for government spending on mental health, according to the House of Commons Library. Theresa May has quoted the latest estimate correctly, but it should be treated with caution.

Mental health services are paid for by a wide range of different organisation. When NHS England asked them to estimate how much they planned to spend on mental health services last year, the answer was £11.7 billion.

But we don’t know how much of that £11.7 billion was actually spent on mental health. There have been discrepancies in the past between planned spending on mental health and what actually happened.

We may know the answer in the future. This year, Clinical Commissioning Groups are moving to open-book accounting. They’ll be able to show where the planned spending actually went.

Is £11.7 billion a record figure? Since the estimates are fairly uncertain, we’re not sure how accurate or meaningful this is. We’re looking into it.

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