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Thursday 27th October 2016

Warning on child mental health care

1st October 2008

The children’s commissioner has warned that mentally ill children are still being failed by the NHS.


In his audit of 18 months ago Sir Al Aynsley-Green raised concerns that too many under-18s were being treated on adult psychiatric wards because of a beds shortage, describing the situation as a "national scandal".

In an update, he has acknowledged that progress is now being made but that there is still a "long way to go".

The government has decreed that by 2010 no children under 16 should be treated on adult wards and under-18s would only be treated there if it is deemed appropriate.

However, a survey of more than 200 NHS trusts revealed that only 15% were treating children on the correct wards.

Sir Al said: "We cannot afford to ignore the current shortfall in the treatment and care of young people with mental health problems.

"Admitting these young people to inappropriate facilities at a time when they are at their most vulnerable is detrimental to improving their health."

The follow-up survey was carried out with the Young Minds charity.

Chief executive Sarah Brennan said she hoped the findings would spur health trusts on to improve care.

She added: "The research reveals a bleak picture of the condition of mental health services for young people."

The Department of Health say an extra £1.2bn has been pumped into mental health services as part of the rise in the overall NHS budget and it was confident that the 2010 target will be achieved.


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