Many parts of the NHS spend as little as 6.6% of their budgets on mental health, even though conditions such as anxiety and depression make up 23% of the service's overall burden of illness.
The disclosure has prompted claims that the NHS treats mental health as a second-class service and that patients in areas where few services are provided locally are receiving poorer care as a result.
Freedom of information requests to England's 211 GP-led local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) by Luciana Berger, shadow public health minister, show that 72 of the 142 (67%) which responded spend less than 10% of their budget on mental health services.
Berger said the figures showed that people needing help were faced with an "alarming postcode lottery".
She added: "Mental health should be treated no differently to physical health. People with mental illness shouldn't have to expect different standards of care simply because of where they live."
Among the respondents, Surrey Heath CCG spends the least on mental health – just £7m (6.55%) of its £107m budget – closely followed by Solihull (6.69%) and Northern, Eastern and Western Devon (6.74%). The three biggest spenders are West London (18.02%), Central London (17.31%) and Lambeth in south London (16.69%).http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014 ... ss-service