Mental Health Services: Older People

Department of Health written question – answered at on 29 June 2016.

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Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Conservative, Wealden

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what resources his Department has allocated to support for older people with mental health issues in (a) England and (b) East Sussex in 2016-17.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

Funding for mental health is allocated to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which are best placed to identify the priorities and needs of their local communities. Spending on mental health is expected to increase to £11.7 billion for 2014/15 and CCGs are committed to increasing their spending on mental health each year at least in line with the growth of their overall funding allocation.

NHS England has asked local National Health Service areas to develop and implement sustainability and transformation plans this year to demonstrate how local services will be built around the needs of local people. This includes measures to improve primary care and developing better models of out of hospital care.

We established the Better Care Fund which is enabling local authorities to access around £3.5 billion a year to improve services and achieve better integration of health and social care commissioning. The Better Care Fund is one of the most ambitious programmes across the NHS and local government to date. It creates a local single pooled budget to incentivise the NHS and local government to work more closely together around people, placing their wellbeing as the focus of health and care services, and shifting resources into social care and community services for the benefit of the people, communities and health and care systems.

The independent Mental Health Taskforce published earlier this year made a recommendation for NHS England to that people being supported in specialist older-age acute physical health services have access to liaison mental health teams – including expertise in the psychiatry of older adults. We have accepted these recommendations.

We set out plans for transforming primary care in 2014 which includes supporting people with the most complex needs by general practitioners developing a proactive and personalised programme of care and support tailored to their needs and views. This is being led by the Proactive Care Programme which is designed to bring about a step change in the quality of care for frail older people (including those with mental health problems) and other patients with complex needs. It enables CCGs to shift funding into primary care services and community health services to address issues such as avoidable admissions to hospitals and gaps in service provision.

In February 2015, the Prime Minister launched his new Challenge on Dementia 2020 to make sure that dementia care, support, awareness and research are transformed by 2020. The Challenge Implementation Plan, published in March 2016, set out the actions partners across health and care will take to ensure commitments in the 2020 Challenge are delivered. These include:

- every person diagnosed with dementia having meaningful care following their diagnosis, which supports them and those around them;

- information made available locally on post-diagnosis services and how these can be accessed;

- access to relevant advice and support to help and advice on what happens after a diagnosis and the support available through the journey; and

- carers of people with dementia being made aware of and offered the opportunity for respite, education, training, emotional and psychological support so that they feel able to cope with their caring responsibilities and to have a life alongside caring.

Alongside the Implementation Plan the Department has published, together with key dementia stakeholders, a “Joint Declaration on Post-Diagnostic Dementia Care and Support”. This sets out the key principles of good quality post-diagnostic care for people with dementia.

The Department has prioritised prevention and through the Care Act 2014 it has required local authorities to have measures in place to identify people in their area who would benefit from universal services to help reduce, delay or prevent needs for care and support. This includes needs that may arise from social isolation.

Local authorities must consider if an adult is socially isolated or lonely when assessing them for adult social care. The Eligibility Regulations require local authorities to take into account whether a person wants to develop and maintain family or other personal relationships when assessing their eligibility for social care.

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