Chil­dren ‘failed’ by men­tal health care

Bor­ough ser­vices have reached ‘break­ing point’

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk 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.”

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