Issue date
22 Oct 2018
​​​​​​​Mental health services in the North West are failing to keep up with rising demand, according to new TUC analysis published today (Monday).

The analysis – carried out for the TUC by the NHS Support Federation – shows that in the last five years the number of patients accessing mental health services in the region has risen by more than 77,000 (+28%).

However, over the same period the number of mental health nurses in the North West has remained virtually static and there are fewer beds for people struggling with their mental health.

The research shows that since 2013:

  • The number of beds for mental health patients in the region has slumped by 221 (-7%).
  • The number of NHS mental health nurses in the region has increased by just 11.
  • The number of NHS mental health doctors in the region has increased (+8%), but at a much slower rate than demand.

Mental health provision by English region

Region

change in beds

change in doctors

change in nurses

change in demand

%

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Number

East of England

-35%

-818

-16%

-134

-10%

-498

30%

+39,867

East Midlands

-15%

-272

-3%

-21

-3%

-224

14%

+22,664

London

-12%

-692

3%

+58

6%

+527

78%

+190,195

North East

-16%

-274

5%

+27

12%

+409

37%

+37,853

North West

-7%

-221

8%

+82

0%

+11

28%

+77,257

South East

-15%

-422

-8%

-91

-10%

-692

17%

+41,959

South West

5%

+69

-1%

-4

12%

+629

34%

+50,425

West Midlands

-13%

-283

-2%

-15

-7%

-309

37%

+61,778

Yorks and Humber

-2%

-41

-14%

-88

-6%

-268

12%

+18,935

England

-13%

-2,954

-2%

-186

-1%

-415

+33%

+540,933

Source: NHS Digital

The TUC says the unprecedented squeeze on health service funding and health workers’ pay are key reasons behind the fall in capacity.

NHS mental health trusts have seen their income cut by more than a £100million in real-terms since 2012.

And the clampdown on pay in the NHS has hit staffing levels, with more than one in 10 mental health posts currently vacant.

Unions are calling on the Chancellor to use this month’s budget to:

  • Increase Department of Health spending to 5% – the amount the IFS and Health Foundation say is required to achieve significant improvements in health outcomes.
  • Reverse the cuts to local authority and school funding that have also impacted on local mental and public health services, particularly for children.

Mental illness is estimated to cost the UK economy between £74bn and £99bn a year.

TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said: “The Prime Minister promised to tackle the ‘burning injustice’ of inadequate treatment for mental illness. But years of underfunding has created a staffing crisis in mental health services and a huge shortage of beds.

“This month’s Budget must provide urgent funding for the NHS, schools and councils. They need more resources to help people struggling with their mental health.”

Editors note

Notes to editors:

- The analysis covers all of England’s NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs). These are the 44 areas where local NHS organisations and councils draw up proposals to improve health and care in the areas they serve.

- Of England’s 44 NHS STPs:

  • More than three-quarters (36) have seen a fall in the number of available beds for people struggling with their mental health.
  • More than half (23) have seen a fall in the number of mental health nurses (including both in-patient and community nurses).
  • Half (22) have seen a fall in the number of doctors working with mental health patients.

Mental health provision by STP

Region

STP

change in beds

change in doctors

change in nurses

change in demand

East Midlands

Derbyshire

-22%

-1%

3%

33%

East Midlands

Lincolnshire

3%

-3%

-6%

-27%

East Midlands

Nottinghamshire

-16%

0%

-7%

14%

East Midlands

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

-100%

-3%

-6%

43%

East Midlands

Northamptonshire

-6%

-11%

5%

43%

East of England

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

-25%

8%

79%

14%

East of England

Norfolk and Waveney

-30%

-13%

-20%

72%

East of England

Suffolk and North East Essex

-25%

-10%

32%

16%

East of England

Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and
Luton

-100%

East of England

Hertfordshire and West Essex

-14%

10%

-14%

103%

East of England

Mid and South Essex

-55%

-55%

-49%

-24%

London

North West London

38%

-2%

6%

52%

London

North Central London

-2%

0%

15%

52%

London

North East London

15%

11%

11%

221%

London

South East London

-43%

3%

-4%

27%

London

South West London

-7%

-5%

2%

32%

North East

Northumberland, Tyne & Wear

-28%

2%

10%

9%

North East

Durham, Darlington, Tees,
Hambleton, Richmondshire and
Whitby

-2%

8%

13%

69%

North West

West, North & East Cumbria

10%

0%

1%

11%

North West

Lancashire and South Cumbria

-5%

16%

-7%

27%

North West

Greater Manchester

-28%

15%

-7%

20%

North West

Cheshire and Merseyside

16%

0%

15%

40%

South East

Kent and Medway

-14%

-13%

-5%

23%

South East

Sussex and East Surrey

-13%

-17%

1%

33%

South East

Frimley Health

-26%

11%

-14%

41%

South East

Surrey Heartlands

-31%

-9%

-9%

South East

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

-11%

-13%

-11%

-13%

South East

Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and
Berkshire West

-10%

2%

-17%

10%

South West

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

-9%

28%

111%

28%

South West

Devon

5%

-11%

-3%

35%

South West

Somerset

-20%

8%

-6%

10%

South West

Bristol, North Somerset and South
Gloucestershire

-100%

South West

Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire

-1%

-2%

9%

33%

South West

Dorset

159%

-2%

3%

108%

South West

Gloucestershire

-4%

-6%

-4%

-8%

West Midlands

Staffordshire

-1%

13%

4%

112%

West Midlands

Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin

-13%

15%

-1%

-5%

West Midlands

The Black Country

-17%

-7%

-7%

32%

West Midlands

Birmingham and Solihull

-14%

-11%

-8%

51%

West Midlands

Coventry and Warwickshire

-13%

1%

-14%

23%

West Midlands

Herefordshire and Worcestershire

-17%

88%

Yorks and Humber

West Yorkshire and Harrogate

-17%

-20%

16%

16%

Yorks and Humber

Coast, Humber and Vale

-17%

-3%

-26%

-11%

Yorks and Humber

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw

73%

-11%

-14%

18%

  • The table above shows figures for each STP by region. Please note that there may be some outlier STPs where change in beds or staffing may be attributed to closures or transfers of services between STP areas.
  • Figures for beds, doctors and nurses are taken from NHS Digital. These figures were aligned with the 44 STP areas in England.
  • Doctors includes: forensic psychiatry, general psychiatry, old-age psychiatry.
  • Nurses includes: community learning disabilities nurses, community mental health nurses and health visitors.
  • NHS digital does not provide data from some NHS trusts within its mental health clusters. This has reduced the figures in the following STPs: Hereford and Worcestershire, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
  • In some cases mental health beds and workforce are provided by a trust in a neighbouring STPs or a non-NHS provider. This explains why the data appears abnormally low in the following STPs: Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton, Bristol, N Somerset and S Gloucestershire.