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Psychiatric Hospitals: Children

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 256250, tabled on 20 May 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that children are not unnecessarily admitted to mental health hospitals.

Answered on

23 May 2019

The Department is committing increased expenditure to support the provision of mental health services in the community, to reduce the need for children to be admitted to mental health hospitals unless absolutely necessary.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, mental health funding will grow by at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24, with funding for children and young people’s mental health services growing faster than both overall National Health Service funding and total mental health spending. This extra investment will mean an extra 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will receive mental health support by 2023/24.

The key proposals in ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper’ aim to improve early intervention. New mental health support teams will deliver evidence-based interventions in or close to schools and colleges for those with mild to moderate mental health issues in 25 trailblazer areas in England. 12 of the 25 trailblazer sites will pilot a four-week waiting time to speed up children and young people’s access to NHS mental health services.

Over the next five years, the NHS will therefore continue to invest in expanding access to community-based mental health services to meet the needs of more children and young people.

The NHS Long Term Plan prioritises services for children and young people, providing a clear focus on improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism, as well as committing to implementing ‘Building the right support’ in full, achieving at least a 50% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability or autism who are inpatients, compared to the figure in 2015, by the end of 2023/24.

The Long Term Plan sets out specific commitments to achieve this by developing new models of care to provide care closer to home and investing in intensive, crisis and forensic community support. By 2023/24 children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both with the most complex needs will also have a designated keyworker. These will be initially provided to children and young people who are inpatients or at risk of being admitted to hospital.

Furthermore, the Government is committed to reviewing mental health legislation so that it works better for both adults and children. We are currently considering the findings from the independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983, which covers how a person can be detained or sectioned for treatment and will respond in due course.

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