The Busted flush in Mental Health: Children and young people denied mental healthcare

Beware being young and mentally ill. Your vote does not matter much, and the media will not sustain the interest they have in Cancer despite the fact that more life years are lost from mental health. Government can get away with covert rationing more easily in this area than many others, so it does. The Mental health patient’s hand in all 4 UK Health Systems is a busted flush.. …

Lucy Bannerman reports in the Times 11th April 2016: Children and young people denied mental healthcare

Almost a quarter of children and young people in need of mental healthcare are being denied access to it by underfunded services because the criteria are too strict, according to a report.

Research by the think tank CentreForum shows that an alarming number of referrals are being rejected by mental healthcare providers, despite evidence that a tenth of young people aged between 5 and 16 — the equivalent of three from every classroom — have a mental health problem.

The research found that children and young people were frequently being turned away from treatment because they had not been unwell for long enough. Others were refused because their condition had not yet reached a severe level, with some being denied specialist support because the voices they heard in their head did not “command particular behaviours” or they had considered suicide only once.

Other factors preventing early access to care included services accepting only young people referred by doctors, and not other listed professionals such as teachers, and support for anorexia being denied until a young person’s BMI dropped beyond a certain level.

Such high thresholds for treatment were storing up problems for the future, the report warned. “Something has to go drastically wrong before some services will accept a referral; the antithesis of an early intervention approach.”

The State of the Nation report is the first by the commission on children and young people’s mental health. It also found that maximum waiting times for treatment had more than doubled in the past two years, with children and adolescents having to wait anything from four weeks to two and a half years to access help. The average waiting time was nearly ten months for treatment to begin.

Norman Lamb, MP, the commission chairman and former mental health minister, called the poor access to mental healthcare “a scandal which has existed for too long”.

He said: “This research confirms the true extent of problems in children and young people’s mental health services. Far too often our children are turned away from help or forced to wait for months for treatment. This goes against what we all know — intervening early can prevent a condition reaching crisis point.

“It is unacceptable. If we are to finally achieve equality between physical and mental health, as the government has argued for, these shortcomings must be addressed urgently.”

He urged the government to spend “every penny” of the £1.25 billion announced by the former coalition government for children’s mental health, on improving care for young people.

The Times has been campaigning to raise the profile of mental health problems among children. Time to Mind also calls for far greater investment in services. At present only 6 per cent of the mental health budget is spent on young people and only 0.6 per cent of the total NHS budget is spent on young mental health patients.

David Laws, CentreForum executive chairman, said: “This new analysis reveals a stark picture of the pressures on child and adolescent mental health services. Early intervention with young people is essential to prevent mental health problems getting worse.

“It’s vital we improve our understanding of the current system, which suffers from a paucity of clear data, and assess whether progress has been made in transforming services.”

It is estimated that 720,000 children and young people suffer mental health problems in England.

‘I didn’t get the right treatment for years’

Emma Peacock was 14 when she began self- harming (Georgie Keate writes). Though she went to a doctor, “it was brushed under the carpet”. Months later she was admitted to hospital after a suicide attempt.

After she was discharged, it became clear that she was not getting the care she needed in the community and her psychologist said that she needed care in a high-dependency ward. It was there that she learnt that she had bipolar disorder and was given the right treatment and care.

Just as she began to show signs of a recovery, her NHS trust said that the hospital, in East Sussex, was costing too much money and tried to have her transferred back to north London, where she lived.

After weeks of fighting, Emma was allowed to stay until she was discharged 17 months later. “I was fully recovered then but it took 18 months for the NHS to find a psychologist,” she said. “Then I was turning 18 and was being batted between different services.

“I think if I had seen someone who knew what was wrong with me when I was 14 and treated me correctly, this wouldn’t have happened. You only get proper treatment when something is already too serious.”

Emma, 20, is now stable and heading to university.

Mind Block – Times leader and “comment” from a reader

Management of our Healthcare system is no longer fit for purpose. The sooner Government admits that and does something positive to correct it it – like sacking incompetent managers and replacing them with those who know what they are doing the better. The rot goes right to the top, but most politicians are sh*t scared to acknowledge that. let alone get off their backsides and do something.

Doctors are degenerating and GP Practices are imploding. Suicide is a symptom of a failing system. Suicide is a symptom of a failing system..

Feb 2016: The cost of poor mental health

Jan 2016: Mental health now area of most public concern within NHS


This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s