Children ‘failed’ by mental health care
Borough services have reached ‘breaking point’
email@example.com MENTAL health services in Hillingdon are failing young people and have reached ‘breaking point’, according to the authors of a damning report.
Watchdog group Healthwatch Hillingdon and charity Hillingdon Mind say ‘insufficient’ priority is being given to children’s health in the borough.
Parents interviewed for the interim report described spending months stuck on waiting lists, while youngsters said they were not being listened to.
The authors are calling for the launch of a new ‘Task and Finish’ group to establish a long-term plan for tackling these issues.
Jeff Maslen, chair of Healthwatch Hillingdon, said: “Young people are being failed. There’s no question about that.
“The quality of these services isn’t as good as it should be.”
He added: “To make progress, we need every agency working together and [to] be willing to ask challenging questions about what services we have in place and what more we can do to help when long waits for services are inevitable.”
The interim report, titled Listen to Me!, highlights poor funding and a lack of joined-up early intervention services as problems. It warns that commissioners and service providers are struggling with increased demand.
Six young people were interviewed, along with their parents and carers. Another 38 aged between 12 and 18 were surveyed.
As well as the Task and Finish group, which would comprise voluntary organisations, police, youth services, GPs and other practitioners, the report’s authors are calling for a borough-wide campaign to make it acceptable to discuss mental health issues.
Stephen Vaughan-Smith, governing body member and mental health clinical lead for Hillingdon Clinical Commission Group (CCG), which organises health services in the borough, said: “We recognise the important issues raised and agree that working with local partners in an integrated fashion to address needs from prevention and early intervention, through to the provision of in-patient care, will provide the greatest benefit to our young people using these services.”
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL), which runs mental health services in the borough, agreed it was under-resourced.
A spokesman said: “CNWL welcomes the opportunity now these issues have been highlighted to work with partners for early identification and intervention services clearly in place in the borough, though some of these will not be NHS responsibility, but the council and third sector’s.”