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Mental Health Crisis

Entire regions of England left without beds for children with mental health problems. Mental Health Crisis.

As the mental health crisis in the UK deepens a new report highlights more worrying news.

Whole regions of England left without any specialist inpatient mental health beds for children on 3 separate occasions last year.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are NHS mental health services that work with children and young people. These children and young people have difficulties with their emotional or behavioral well-being.

On two occasions in April 2016 there were no CAMHS inpatient beds available in the NHS south region. This area covers the south east, south west and south central of England.

On 1 June 2016no CAMHS beds were available in London, according to a new report. This report comes from the Education Policy Institute (EPI).

These issues are being referred to as "capacity problems" by the EPI. As a result of the capacity problems, treating children on adult wards or other paediatric hospital wards has become common. Other children have been admitted to hospitals situated a lengthy distance away from their home, family, and friends.

Between October and December 2016, 83 under 18s were treated on adult wards and they spent a total of 2,700 days in a hospital. The report states that there was 331 hospital stays for children which were 30 or more miles from their home in March 2017.

Other mentally ill children have been "inappropriately" supported in the community.

The authors have said that the consequences of such inappropriate admissions can be "severe". One child was subject to an assault by an adult patient whilst in admission to an adult ward.

Across the country:

  • There is an average of 2.5 CAMHS inpatient beds per 100,000 total population in England
  • In the North East, the figure is 3.03 beds per 100,000 population
  • Yet in Wales this is 1.1 beds

Such disparity is completely unacceptable. It results in something of a postcode lottery with regards to mentally ill children being able to access treatment in hospital.

Emily Frith, EPI director of mental health, has said, "This report highlights the many challenges facing the NHS in ensuring all children with mental health problems can easily access high-quality care when they need it.

"While the overall quality of care has improved, our research finds inconsistent provision of inpatient services across England, with shortages in the workforce, as well as evidence of basic standards not being met.

"A sustained focus is needed on recruitment to increase capacity in hospital and community services and to continue to improve the quality of care."

Earlier this year, the NHS announced it will provide more beds and they will be redistributed more uniformly. We are hopeful that this will happen as a matter of urgency.

Swain & Co Solicitors work tirelessly to assist vulnerable people and ensure that their rights under the Mental Health Act are observed.  If you, a family member or friend are experiencing problems or are detained under the Mental Health Act contact our team today on 023 92 483322. 

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