Last year, the Health and Care Act 2022 received Royal Assent, enacting the most significant health legislation for a decade into law. The Act introduced a statutory requirement for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to set out expectations for the year ahead on NHS mental health services spending. This is to ensure better transparency as part of the Government’s commitment to parity of esteem, ensuring that patients are able to access services which treat both mental and physical health conditions equally and to the same standard.
This requirement supports the Government’s existing commitments to increase spending on mental health services in real terms by at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24, and to uphold the Mental Health Investment Standard which requires that Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) spending on mental health grows at least in line with growth in overall recurrent funding allocations.
Today I lay before Parliament the first annual statement in fulfilment of this commitment.
In this statement I will set out the Government’s expectation for mental health spending by NHS England and ICBs in aggregate in the 2023/24 financial year. Specifically, I will set out whether the Government expects there to be an increase in expenditure by comparison with the previous financial year (2022/23) in relation to mental health, both in amount and proportion. It should be noted that, owing to the statutory requirement to lay this statement before Parliament ahead of the new financial year, the figures contained within this first annual statement will, in part, be based on projections.
In financial year 2023/24, the Government expects mental health spending to continue to increase as a proportion of the total recurrent expenditure incurred by NHS England and ICBs in aggregate. In financial year 2022/23, mental health spending made up 8.90% of all recurrent NHS spending. In the coming financial year, we expect this to grow by 0.02 percentage points and account for 8.92% of total recurrent spend as shown below.
Recurrent NHS baseline (£bn)
Total forecast Mental Health spend (£bn)
Mental Health share of recurrent baseline
This includes, at aggregate ICB level, baseline spend within scope of the Mental Health Investment Standard which covers all spending on mental health from an ICB’s core allocations, and at NHS England level, service development fund spending and specialised commissioning spending on mental health.
These encouraging projections demonstrate the Government’s continuing commitment to expanding and transforming mental health services across England and to delivering sustained investment in this area across the country, and our ongoing commitment to parity of esteem for mental health.