New report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) examines new data on access to specialist treatment for children and young people with mental health problems, and the waiting times they face.
This report shows that over a quarter of young people referred to specialist mental health services are not accepted for treatment. Little progress has been made in reducing the high proportion of young people who are not accepted into specialist services despite having been referred by a concerned GP or teacher. While in some areas good quality early intervention services are in place to help these young people, these are not consistently provided across the country.
When referrals are accepted, young people in many areas are still waiting an unacceptably long time for treatment. The case for national waiting time standards to be put in place is therefore strong. Some progress is, however, being made in reducing waiting times to treatment, which may be due to the additional funding earmarked for children’s mental health services.
Half of people with experience of condition rate GPs’ care as poor, survey finds | The Guardian
GPs are routinely failing to provide adequate care to patients with eating disorders, with one in three not referred for specialist assistance, a leading charity has warned.
Beat, the UK’s primary eating disorder charity, found that half of people with some experience of the condition rated GP care as “poor” or “very poor” and 30% were not referred to mental health services after their appointment.
The charity polled 1,700 people, the majority of whom had sought medical help for an eating disorder. Of the 1,267 who had gone to a GP for help, only 34% said they felt their doctor knew how to treat them.
Smith, J. et al. Child & Adolescent Mental Health. Published online: 9 February 2017
Background: During 12-month period (2012/13) around 21,480 children and young people (CYP) were referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Scotland (NHS Scotland, 2013, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services waiting times in Scotland). At the end of September 2012, there were 3,602 CYP still waiting for ‘start of treatment’ or ‘removal from the waiting list’, 375 (10%) CYP had waited over 26 weeks and 1,204 (33%) CYP had waited over 18 weeks (NHS Scotland, 2013, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services waiting times in Scotland). Referral source, referral reason and the sociodemographic characteristics of CYP are not routinely collected, and therefore, associations between these factors and wait times for ‘start of treatment’ or ‘removal from the waiting list’ (i.e. the referral outcome) are unknown.
Conclusions: Policymakers should consider ways to foster dialogue and collaboration between different groups of professionals making and accepting referrals to CAMHS in order to improve timely access to appropriate mental health support services for CYP. Research is urgently needed to investigate the experiences of CYP who are either rejected by CAMHS or wait lengthy periods of time before starting their treatment with CAMHS.
Perraudin, F. The Guardian. Published online: 11th April 2016.
A report from the liberal thinktank CentreForum shows that mental healthcare providers refuse to treat an average of 23% of the under-18s referred to them by concerned parents, GPs, teachers and others.
The analysis also reveals that the longest waiting times endured by users of child and adolescent mental health services have doubled in the last two years, with waiting times of up to two and a half years reported.
Among the reasons reported for turning under-18s away included services feeling they lacked the capacity to deal with the problem, the child or young person not having being unwell for a long enough period of time or their condition not yet being serious enough.
Researchers found some services denied support to children and young people with anorexia if their body mass index (BMI) was not under a certain threshold. Other services referred people to more generic support unless they had “enduring suicidal ideation”, meaning they had to have expressed a desire to kill themselves on more than one occasion to access more specialist services.