The performance of the NHS in England in transforming children's mental health services.

Document type
Frith, Emily
Date of publication
22 March 2017
Mental health services, Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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This report analyses data from NHS England’s new Mental Health Five Year Forward View Dashboard. The Dashboard, the second quarter of which was published in February 2017, is intended to act as a barometer to measure progress on improving children and young people’s mental health across a range of indicators. NHS England measured overall local performance in improving child and adolescent mental health services based on a self-assessment framework completed by Clinical Commissioning Groups. The author notes serious gaps in NHS provision of support for children and young people in mental health crisis. Specialist mental health services do not always offer crisis support after hours; A&E departments often lack specialist expertise and young people can end up in police cells due to a poorly coordinated crisis response. She also finds that the problem of children being treated on adult wards is particularly prevalent in the North of England, and that there is wide variation in levels of planned investment in children's mental health care per capita across the country. In conclusion, she demonstrates the need for progress in four key areas:

  • retaining a focus on service improvement across the country over the five-year transformation period; 
  • ensuring that every CCG has a clear and funded plan to improve crisis care;
  •  reducing the number of children being treated in adult wards, and
  •  addressing the wide variation in planned spending across the country, including ensuring that every area increases its investment in line with its share of the £1.4bn additional funding announced with Future in Mind.

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