Headlines: May 30th, 2008

Social services directors say they accept fully the implications of a report predicting that the costs of mental health services in England could double in the next 20 years unless savings can be made. The King’s Fund report warned that more cases of dementia and health and social care costs that were rising in excess of inflation, could see the annual bill for services reaching 47 billion pounds compared with the current 22 billion.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said it accepted the report’s message and its implications. Vice President Jenny Owen said the report built on the Care Minister’s decision to commission the first national strategy for dementia. Its consultation report is due to be published

Ms Owen said, “We are aware that the rising numbers mean that more resources for these services will need to be a priority for future government investment. We also support the need for current spending in dementia care to be spent effectively, investing more in earlier and better diagnosis and supporting people with better quality services.”

Richard Webb, who is co-chair of the ADASS Mental Health, Alcohol and Drugs Network stressed that improved mental health did not depend only on specialist services but was also about raising skills, tackling poverty and exclusion, improving housing and community safety.

ADASS said the King’s Fund report reaffirmed data published last year in the Dementia UK report. It also agreed with the finding that there was a compelling economic case for improving general mental health and supported the Fund’s focus on investing in that works, although Mr. Webb said ADASS would welcome more debate on the respective merits of therapy rather than drug interventions.