Barbara is calling on the Government to do more to provide better mental health treatment to children in the North West of England. Barbara spoke out in Westminster today about failings in NHS mental health services for children and young people.
Asking an Urgent Question about the Care Quality Commission’s report on a review of children and young people’s mental health services, Barbara pointed to evidence of services actively putting up barriers to treatment, resulting in children and young people having to reach crisis point before being able to get access to the right treatment.
Setting these barriers means that children and young people are treated only when their condition becomes more serious. The Care Quality Commission’s report said that the barriers are even prompting GPs to tell children to “pretend things are worse than they are“, to increase their chances of being accepted into specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
Further, new figures from the Royal College of Psychiatrists show that the North West of England has just 7.92 NHS Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists per 100,000 children. This places the North West below the national average of 8.29 NHS Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists per 100,000. Worryingly, in the August 2017 intake, 86% of the training vacancies for child and adolescent psychiatry were unfilled in the North West.
Barbara understands that if more Child and Adolescent mental health psychiatrists are not recruited then it will not be possible for the NHS to improve on waiting times for assessment. She believes that the Government needs to recognise this shortfall and provide more support for mental health services in the North West.
“It is disturbing to know that children and young people in the North West are not able to get access to the mental health treatment they need, as I want them to be able to get the best possible treatment when they need it.
“It is also worrying we have fewer Child and Adult Psychiatrists per head than the average across the country. It is of even greater concern that more than 8 in 10 training vacancies for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the North West went unfilled last August.
“I am supporting the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ recommendation to add NHS Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists to the National Shortage Occupation List. We cannot allow children in the North West to go without the mental health care that they need simply because there is not the workforce to deliver it.”