A fair and sustainable funding settlement for social care must provide parity of esteem for mental health and sufficient funding to support people of working age as well as those in later life, according to a policy briefing published today by Centre for Mental Health.
Social care funding and mental health reviews the current funding and provision of mental health social work for people of working age in England. It finds that mental health social work has a vital role in helping people to live independently and to secure their rights and dignity. Local authorities also support carers and commission advocacy services, including for people subject to the Mental Health Act.
Despite this, funding for mental health social work is under pressure and there are growing concerns about the ability of local authorities to meet their obligations under the Care Act. And debates about future funding for social care have largely ignored the needs of working age people.
The briefing concludes that a sustainable solution for social care funding needs to recognise the importance of mental health social work. Local authorities provide vital services to people with mental health difficulties that need to be resourced properly and long-term.
Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said:
The NHS Long Term Plan provides financial security for the NHS for the next five years, including a guarantee of additional funding for mental health services. No such guarantee exists for social care beyond this year’s Spending Round pledge. It is time to put that right. We need a social care settlement that provides parity for mental health, fair funding for people of working age and long-term security for local councils to invest in their workforce and their community.