New Report Raises Question of CAMHS Inadequacies

YoungMinds Chief Executive, Sarah Brennan, says Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have been “woefully underfunded” for a number of years.

Today the Guardian releases new data from a survey carried out by the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) about the views of mental health nurses on CAMHS. The information has been gathered for a mini-series the Guardian are running on children and young people’s mental health.

“Inadequate” Services According to Nurses

The report, which surveyed 631 CAMHS nurses, found that:

  • 70% said that CAMHS services were, in their view, "inadequate" (50%) or "highly inadequate" (20.1%).
  • Only 14% said services were “good” or “very good”.
  • 16% said they were “adequate”.

Following on from this, some of the main problems the nurses identified were:

  • too few nurses (73%),
  • delays in patients getting appointments (72%),
  • young patients who need inpatient care being sent "out of area" to get a bed (69%),
  • too few beds for patients (62%),
  • inability to give patients as many appointments or as much care as they need (59%),
  • too high thresholds or qualifying criteria to get care (57%),
  • too few doctors (48%); and
  • too many referrals not actually receiving NHS care (41%).

Delays Can Have a Disastrous Effect

In response to the report YoungMinds Chief Executive, Sarah Brennan, said:

Children’s mental health services have been woefully underfunded for years. While the government’s extra investment is welcome, it’s unclear whether it’s making a difference to frontline services. Even if the new money is spent where it’s intended, the Chief of NHS England has admitted that it will only be enough to reach a third of the children who need help.

Because of long waiting lists the threshold for accessing specialist services has got higher. Without treatment, problems are very likely to escalate and children are more likely to self-harm or become suicidal, to be violent and aggressive, or to drop out of school, which can ruin their prospects for the future. Delays can also have a disastrous effect on families, with parents forced to leave their jobs to look a

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