Lack of funding undermines improvement in mental health services for children

22 March 2017

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published a new report, The performance of the NHS in England in transforming children’s mental health services.

The report found that:

• Almost three quarters (73.2 per cent) of local Clinical Commissioning Groups failed to meet NHS England’s benchmark for improving services.
• Across England, less than a third of CCGs (31.6 per cent) had a fully funded plan to improve crisis care. 10.5 per cent of CCGs (22 in total) had no agreed plan or funding to improve crisis care from its current level.
• In total, 2,654 nights were spent by a child under 18 on an adult ward. This represents an increase of over a third in just three months.

The authors indicate that wide variation in the quality of services seems to be evidence of a postcode lottery in care.

Responding to the report findings, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

“The report published today by the Education Policy Institute paints a worrying picture about support for the mental health services for children in England.

Effective commissioning is critical to the provision of high quality services for all.

“It is disappointing that despite repeated commitments to ensure parity between mental and physical health, the funding needed for mental health services is not getting through to the frontline. This undermines the ability to invest in and meet the benchmark of improvement set by NHS England. Without promised investment it is very difficult to fix the "postcode lottery" of services available to patients in different areas.

“Two thirds of mental health trusts when surveyed by NHS Providers late last year did not believe their CCG would meet parity of esteem commitments. Effective commissioning is critical to the provision of high quality services for all. The promised transparency of CCG investment needs to clearly demonstrate this funding is not lost to competing priorities.”


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