Health Select Committee launch CAMHS report

On Tuesday 4 November 2014, the Health Select Committee, of which Valerie is a member, published their report into Children’s and Adolescents’ Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Valerie Vaz MP said:

“I welcome the fact that all parties are now supportive of addressing mental health issues. However the Report concludes that there are serious and deeply ingrained problems with the commissioning and provision of children’s and adolescents’ mental health services. These problems run through the whole system from prevention and early intervention through to inpatient services for the most vulnerable young people. These need to be addressed.”

“Local Authorities in the West Midlands have experienced major budget reductions which has affected their ability to commission Tier 1 mental health services such as general advice that can identify problems early in their development. This leads to local services being under increased pressure to cope with the rising demand.”

“The Committee has called for Tier 2 and 3 services, such as primary care and mental health clinics, to set out what people can expect from an acceptable services, and for the Department of Health/ NHS England to carry out a full audit to ensure all services are meeting these requirements.”

“Local CCGs have the power to determine their own local priorities, but I am concerned that insufficient priority is being given to children and young people’s mental health. There are major problems with Tier 4 and access to inpatient mental health services, with children’s safety being compromised while they wait for a bed to become available. I have heard from constituents that when beds are found they can often be in distant parts of the country, in some cases hundreds of miles from a child’s/young person’s home adding an extra strain on parents.”

“I am particularly concerned about the wholly unacceptable practice of taking children and young people detained under the Mental Health Act to police cells, which still persists. The Report has called on the Department of Health to be explicit in setting out how this practice will be eradicated. This is an unacceptable practice.”

“Across the system there is pressure on staff. We heard evidence that one trust (in Cornwall) is seeing twice as many referrals as they have capacity for. Dr Liz Myers, Clinical Director of Children’s Services at Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust told the Committee that staff are being ‘run-ragged’. Staff shortages has led to some Tier 4 units closing to admission.”

“There must be a clear national policy directive for CAMHS, underpinned by adequate funding. It is not acceptable that while demand for mental health care is rising, funding in many parts of the country is being frozen or cut.”

The Health Select Committees report into Children’s and Adolescents’ Mental Health Services is available to read here:

A summary of the Health Select Committee’s Recommendations can be found here: