Mental health services for children and young people severely strained

17 November 2021

Commenting on Care Quality Commission's Provider collaboration review: mental health care of children and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"This report is a stark reminder of how strained services are, with increasing numbers of children and young people presenting later, and often with more complex problems, and a shortage of staff and suitable environments highlighted as key challenges impacting access and quality of care.

"Our survey of mental health trust leaders in May found that demand for children and young people's services was outstripping supply, and there was significant concern about trusts' ability to meet anticipated future demand. Trust leaders were also deeply concerned about staff wellbeing and levels of stress and burnout.

"We welcome the review highlighting where progress has been made by a number of providers and systems, and shares examples of good practice for others to take learning from.

"While there was welcome additional funding announced by government earlier this year to address current challenges, more investment over the longer term is needed to support prevention, workforce expansion and increased community-based provision, alongside building an appropriate bed base and a safe therapeutic environment, so that children and young people in all areas of the country can receive the level of care they need earlier and closer to home.

"The needs of children and young people must also be fully considered in the government's plans for social care reform. Trust leaders have told us the need for more, fully funded social care capacity will be key in ensuring demand for children and young people's mental health services is met."

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