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Child mental health specialists turning away a quarter of referred patients due to funding issues

Specialists Turn Away Children with Mental Health Issues Due to Lack of Funding. 

23% of young people who are referred to a mental health specialist are being turned away, believed to be caused by issues with government funding. A new report suggests that money set aside to boost mental health provisions is not making it to front-line services. 


In 2015, the previous coalition government promised that an extra £250m per year would be invested into the improvement of mental health services for children; however a report by the Education Policy Institute Independent Commission on Children and Young People's Mental Health has found that only £75m has made it to the clinical commissioning groups that pay for these services in the past year.

The commission reported that around 23% of children referred to the specialist services are being turned away due to “high thresholds”. It appears that something has to go terribly wrong before the services will intervene, with one organisation not accepting those who have expressed a desire to kill themselves on a singular occasion.

A separate report on the same issue suggested that the figure could be as high as 28% of children being turned away despite referral as they are not ill enough to qualify.

When addressing this issue, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt pledged to improve the diagnosis and treatment of troubled children, primarily targeting identification of issues at a younger age in order to prevent the children growing up with debilitating conditions.

Mr Hunt went on to tell the Health Service Journal “I think we are letting down too many families and not intervening early enough when there is a curable mental health condition…if you leave it until they are 15 or 16, it’s too late.”

In a recent speech, Prime Minister Theresa May has addressed that an issue has arisen and that action needs to be taken, describing it as a “burning injustice”. Following this recognition, Mr Hunt was keen to add that £1.4 billion is already being invested into Children’s Mental Health and that they are working hard to “strengthen links between schools and mental health services…to improve prevention and early support.”

Melanie Lidstone-Land and the clinical negligence team at Swain & Co Solicitors regularly win compensation for their clients who have experienced substandard treatment or failures to provide treatment. If you, a family member or a friend have experienced problems regarding substandard medical treatment contact our team today on 023 92 483322.

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