Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Wavertree

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the decrease in the public health grant on the ability of local authorities to implement effective suicide prevention plans.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Local authorities will receive over £3 billion in 2019/20, ring-fenced exclusively for use on public health. Over the five years of the current spending review period we are making over £16 billion of grant funding available to local authorities in England exclusively for use on improving health. Reported spend on public mental health rose from £42.7 million in 2016/17 to £50.5 million in 2017/18, an increase of 18%.

We are investing £25 million in suicide prevention over the next three years. The first sustainability and transformation partnership (STPs) received their share of this funding last year. The NHS Long Term Plan set out a commitment to ensure this funding is rolled-out to other STP areas and NHS England is determining the priorities for the second round of funding in 2019/20.

Every local authority has a suicide prevention plan in place or in development and we are working in partnership with the local government sector to ensure the effectiveness of those plans. This process will help to identify areas for improvement for local plans and areas of best practice which can be shared across the local government sector. The results will also be used to inform a programme of mutual support over the next two to three years to enable local areas to learn from each other and to further develop their plans.

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