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Mental health

MPs flag ‘serious problems’ in mental health services for young people

An influential group of MPs has published a damning report into the commissioning and provision of children’s and adolescents’ mental health services in England which they claim have “serious and deeply ingrained problems”.

The flaws run through the whole system, according to the report[1] by the House of Commons health committee published on 5 November 2014.

The MPs highlight a lack of reliable information about which children’s and adolescents’ mental health services (CAMHS) are available, too few hospital beds and budget cuts that mean some local authorities fail to see mental health services for this age group as part of their core services.

They say clinical commissioning groups are failing to give priority to CAMHS and GPs admit that they feel professionally ill-equipped to deal with the mental health issues of children and young people.

Young people who are being held under the Mental Health Act are still being inappropriately kept in police cells and the transition of young patients from CAMHS to adult mental health services is described as being “at a cliff edge”.

The MPs welcome the decision by the Department of Health and NHS England to establish a new task force for children and adolescent mental health which they hope will address their report’s findings. But the MPs say it is “clear that there are currently insufficient levers in place at national level to drive essential improvements to CAMHS services”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20067078

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