Demand and staffing pressures leading to difficulties in access to children and adolescent mental health services

15 September 2017

 

The Education Policy Institute has published its Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services report.

The report examines new data obtained by EPI on access to specialist treatment for children and young people with mental health problems, and the waiting times they face. 

It found that just over a quarter of children referred to specialist mental health services were not accepted into those services in 2016-17.

 

The director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

“Although the findings should be taken with caution, this report does highlight the difficulties that a significant number of children and young adults face to access the most appropriate mental health services for their needs.

“Delays in accessing these services can have a detrimental impact on the mental health of young people as they are forced to wait for treatment and their condition may worsen. Our recent report The state of the NHS Provider sector showed that demand and staffing pressures are especially severe for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and providers are concerned that they will struggle further to deliver much-needed care to young people in mental health crisis.

Delays in accessing these services can have a detrimental impact on the mental health of young people as they are forced to wait for treatment and their condition may worsen.

“The reasons for refused referrals also suggest that early intervention or non-specialist services would be more appropriate for many young people, but are not available or need investment to cope with the level of demand. It is critical that funding earmarked for mental health services reaches the frontline so that the right level of services can be provided where they are most needed.

“The findings do suggest that the overall level of unaccepted referrals is falling. We hope to see this fall further as we see the impact of improvements driven by the Five year forward view for mental health.”

 

 

 

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