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CQC: Access to mental health care for children and young people at a ‘crisis point’

Date:9 MAR 2018
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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said UK health care, education and other public services are failing children and young people regarding their access to mental health services arguing young people are at a ‘crisis point’ when it comes to mental health support. In light of its findings the CQC has made recommendations for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on how they can best ensure support.

The report Are we listening? A review of children and young people’s mental health services comes as the second part of a review requested by the Prime Minister into the quality and accessibility of the system of mental health services for children and young people.

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The report, which included the views of more than 1,300 people, looked at three main aspects of the system:

  • people’s experience of and involvement in care;

  • how partners plan and deliver services that offer high quality care that can be accessed in a timely fashion; and

  • how partners in the local area identify mental health needs and what they do to start the process of getting the right support for children and young people.

The report found, among other things:

  • many children and young people experiencing mental health problems don’t get the kind of care they deserve;

  • the system is complicated, with no easy or clear way to get help or support; and

  • those who displayed a caring and dedicated service are often working long hours, with limited money and an increasing demand for their services to overcome barriers to providing high-quality care.

Next steps

The CQC has welcomed Government proposals to establish dedicated mental health support teams in schools, as well as the commitment to funding made in the NHS’s five year forward view for mental health. However, it says ‘unless the pace of delivery is accelerated, these commitments will not be enough to achieve the scale of change [that is necessary]’.

In light of this, the CQC has made recommendations on how organisations responsible for making sure that the problems with mental health services are dealt should proceed. These include:

  • the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care must drive joint action across Government through the inter-ministerial group on mental health  ensuring children and young people’s mental health becomes a higher priority across Government departments;

  • national bodies  including the Department of Health and Social Care, Health Education England, NHS England and NHS Improvement  must recognise and build on the examples of good, person-centred care that exist, and to support people working locally so they can develop innovative approaches to high-quality care based on local need; and

  • commissioners and providers across education, local authorities and the NHS to work with NHS Digital to drive cross-sector improvement in the quality and availability of data, information and intelligence.