Issued: 16th November 2017

BABCP Calls For Ring-Fenced Funding

Following a letter from 12 mental health bodies in the UK calling for ring-fenced funding for mental health in the new Autumn budget, the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies add their voice to the call for mental health funding to be both adequate and ring-fenced, and goes further to suggest social care and public health funding should also be protected. We believe that the provision of access to psychological therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy, across the whole of the UK and Ireland should be equitable whatever ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or age.

Whilst there has been some progress with Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, a ground-breaking initiative in England which has made evidence based talking therapies more widely available than before, there is still a long way to go in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, before everyone who needs an evidence-based talking therapy has timely access. Some parts of the UK and Ireland are better provided for than others, and long waiting lists are often necessary to cope with demand. IAPT is only provided in England, and although the Scottish Matrix and Matric Cymru outline guidelines for providing evidence-based psychological therapies there are not always the infrastructures or funding available. A key ongoing challenge are inequalities to access and capacity challenges across the age range- with particular challenges for older and young people, those from ethic minority groups or others currently under-represented in mental health provision. Mental health cannot be separated from social and public health work, hence our emphasis on ring fencing these key areas also.

The provision of evidence-based psychological therapies is a crucial part of the wider picture which includes mental healthcare in a wider sense, from lower level community interventions through to acute psychiatric wards, and which also relies on reliable social care. Funding for mental health, public health and social care has not been ring-fenced and protected, and services are suffering. In addition NHS staff have been under ever-increasing pressure, whilst being subject to a pay cap which means their salary in real terms is decreasing.

The BABCP call for ring-fencing of mental health, public health and social care funding, continued and increased investment in the provision of evidence based talking therapies, and wider consideration of the provision of evidence-based talking therapies, including CBT, in the whole of the UK and Ireland.