Guardian: NHS child mental health services are failing the next generation, say GPs

Denis Campbell of the Guardian reports:

Pulse’s figures, obtained under freedom of information legislation from 15 mental health trusts, showed that 61% of children and young people referred for help from CAMHS in 2015 received no treatment. A third were not even assessed for it. Only 20% of under-18s referred to Norfolk and Suffolk NHS foundation trust ended up undergoing treatment, a sharp fall from the 46% who did so in 2013.

Yet another bottom of the table performance from local health commissioners (CCGs) and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Board. The proportion of referrals leading to treatment at NSFT has fallen by five times the national average to the worst in the country.

This disgraceful situation is the result of the vicious radical redesign cuts and the systematic diversion of already inadequate resources away from services for children to the experimental, flagship ‘Youth’ service. According to NHS Benchmarking, NSFT cut Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) by more than any other trust in the country. Sadly, as usual, we have been warning about the consequences of these cuts for years.

In Central Norfolk, which covers the Norwich, South Norfolk and North Norfolk commissioning areas, for children aged under 14 there was one CAMHS consultant psychiatrist working three days per week. For those aged between 14 and 18, there is one CAMHS consultant psychiatrist. No wonder that four out of five children referred are receiving no treatment.

Astonishingly, in Suffolk excluding Waveney, in the area covered by the West Suffolk and East Suffolk and Ipswich commissioning areas, there is currently no CAMHS consultant psychiatrist for children aged under 14. There is a part-time locum but this is only a temporary contract pending the review of the Integrated Delivery Teams (IDTs) and the implementation of the local CAMHS Transformation Plan. There is no permanent post and the last substantive post holder left in June 2015. Additionally, the Central IDT has no permanent under-18 CAMHS consultant psychiatrist but does share the under-14 locum CAMHS consultant psychiatrist. Again, there is no permanent post. No wonder that four out of five children are receiving no treatment.

This is an utterly shameful and catastrophic situation for children, young people and their families in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Click on the image below to read the article in full on the Guardian website:

Guardian NHS child mental health services are failing the next generation say GPs



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