The Independent Mental Health Services Alliance (IMHSA) responds to the publication of Monitor’s consultation on the 2015/16 Tariff Payment system. IMHSA Chair Joy Chamberlain said:

“IMHSA is disappointed that the proposals for the tariff payment system in 2015/16 do little to address the significant disinvestment in the sector in recent years. The consultation sets out plans to reduce national tariff prices by 1.9%.

IMHSA welcomes Monitor’s engagement on the tariff for 2015/16 to date and we appreciate the efforts that have been made to take some of our views into account. However, it is very disappointing that the main issues regarding local pricing have not been addressed adequately.

While the document does make clear that prices for mental health services should be set at a local level, it contradicts this advice by stating that local prices should have regard to the national tariff. This is not in keeping with the spirit of local pricing and does not pay due regard to the different cost base of mental health providers and the significant efficiencies delivered by the independent sector in mental health.

This works against, rather than towards, the government’s stated goal of parity of esteem between physical and mental health. The consultation argues that the recent funding announcement of £40m for early intervention psychosis marks an uplift of around 0.35% to improve parity of esteem. This is a redirection of current funding rather than truly additional investment and clearly does not go far enough, despite consistent commitments from the government to make mental health a priority. A parity of tariff deflator does not equal a parity of esteem and the government needs to do more to tackle the wider problem of disinvestment in mental health.

If improvements are truly to be made to patient access to these essential services, mental health care must be supported by sufficient funds and providers must be able to develop services where they are needed.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. For more information, please contact Rebecca Brake at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 0203 102 3621

2. IMHSA is a leading group of eleven independent mental health service providers representing over 90% of the independent sector. Members include The Ansel Group, Care UK, Cygnet, Huntercombe, Partnerships in Care, Priory Group, Alpha Hospitals, The Retreat, In Mind, Glencare and St Andrew’s.