UKCP’s submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review
October 2, 2020
UKCP has urged the government to make access to a choice of mental health treatments a priority in our submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review.
The UK government conducts a Comprehensive Spending Review every 3-4 years which determines how funds are allocated to each government department. Individuals and organisations with subject matter expertise are invited to highlight areas they feel should be prioritised. We took this opportunity to call for more funding to support NHS provision and make the case for the unique value of psychotherapy in addressing the urgent and growing need for mental health support across the UK over the coming years.
We reminded the government of the importance of providing a choice of treatments to mental health service users, as well as highlighting the impact that the COVID-19 epidemic will continue to have on people’s mental health and wellbeing in the months and years ahead. A projected half a million additional service users will access mental health services in the wake of COVID-19 and increasing the availability of psychotherapy and counselling in government-funded settings – particularly the NHS – is vital to addressing this rapid increase in need.
We also took this opportunity to urge the government to exempt psychotherapists and counsellors from paying VAT, removing the discrepancy between these professions and others, such as psychology and psychiatry.
UKCP’s four key areas for mental health investment in response to the Comprehensive Spending Review are:
1. Sustained provision of funding to Health Education England (HEE) to support workforce recruitment and training, accompanied by an increased deployment of the psychotherapy workforce in NHS primary and secondary care settings. This is urgently needed to address the necessary rapid expansion of NHS mental health provision.
2. Sustained funding of outpatient psychotherapy services to provide effective care for people with a personality disorder diagnosis, who often have poor outcomes from engagement with other NHS services.
3. Prioritising continuity of care for service users once one-off COVID-19 funding measures for voluntary sector mental health services come to an end.
4. Extend the VAT exemption to all qualified, PSA-registered and accredited psychotherapists and counsellors. This will support more affordable access to therapy at a time when demand is rising quickly and be an important step towards parity of esteem between physical and mental health and between different mental health practitioners.
More information about the Comprehensive Spending Review can be found here, and we will continue to keep members updated on the progress of our campaigns work.