Chil­dren re­jected for men­tal health care

Anger as NHS knock back hun­dreds of re­fer­rals

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE -

Shock­ing statis­tics have re­vealed that more than 1000 strug­gling young­sters had their re­fer­ral for men­tal health sup­port re­jected by NHS La­nark­shire.

The health board re­fused 1050 re­fer­rals, more than one in four, from GPS and ed­u­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als for men­tal health sup­port and treat­ment in the past year – a fig­ure higher than the Scot­tish av­er­age.

The pub­li­ca­tion of the Chil­dren and Ado­les­cent Men­tal Health Ser­vice record comes at the same time as a new govern­ment pub­li­ca­tion re­vealed as many as 616 men and women died by sui­cide in La­nark­shire be­tween 2011 and 2017.

MSP for Cen­tral Scot­land Richard Leonard be­lieves the sys­tem is fail­ing chil­dren and young peo­ple at a time when they are most in need.

He said: “It is deeply wor­ry­ing to see so many young peo­ple hav­ing their re­fer­ral to the Chil­dren and Ado­les­cent Men­tal Health Ser­vices re­jected de­spite a pro­fes­sional tak­ing the de­ci­sion that they need sup­port.

“More than one in three peo­ple will suf­fer men­tal ill­ness dur­ing their life­time.

“There­fore it is es­sen­tial that we get the right sup­port at the right time to those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing poor men­tal health.”

A re­fer­ral is usu­ally made when a child or young per­son has dif­fi­cul­ties with their emo­tional or be­havioural health.

On top of those who have their re­fer­ral re­jected, 1665 young peo­ple had to wait longer than the Scot­tish Govern­ment’s 18-week guar­an­tee to see a spe­cial­ist.

Mr Leonard is con­cerned fail­ure to take ac­tion now could re­sult in longer term health prob­lems and called on NHS La­nark­shire to re­view their poli­cies.

He said: “It’s im­por­tant that NHS La­nark­shire make men­tal health a pri­or­ity.

“Fail­ure to do so will only es­ca­late the sever­ity of the prob­lem for some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in this com­mu­nity.

“This is why I am call­ing on NHS La­nark­shire to re­view their pol­icy which has led to over one thou­sand young peo­ple be­ing un­able to see a spe­cial­ist over the last 12 months.”

Jim Mur­ray, CAMHS ser­vice man­ager, ex­plained that re­jected re­fer­rals re­late to ac­cess to a higher tier of sup­port, where a re­quest to a health­care pro­fes­sional or to an or­gan­i­sa­tion is not deemed ap­pro­pri­ate fol­low­ing assess­ment by a se­nior clin­i­cian or a con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist.

In these sit­u­a­tions the young per­son would be sign posted to a tier one ser­vice, such as a GP visit, for sup­port.

Mr Mur­ray said: “There has been a 50 per cent in­crease in re­fer­rals to the La­nark­shire CAMHS since 2012, and on-go­ing re­cruit­ment chal­lenges across all dis­ci­plines in CAMHS.

“NHS La­nark­shire cur­rently has a slightly higher va­cancy rate than the na­tional av­er­age.

“Ur­gent re­fer­rals have also dou­bled in the last year as has at­ten­dances in A&E of young peo­ple with emo­tional health prob­lems.”

Mr Mur­ray added: “We con­tinue to take steps to im­prove CAMHS such as sup­port­ing col­leagues in ed­u­ca­tion and pri­mary care to of­fer an early in­ter­ven­tion where ap­pro­pri­ate to avoid un­nec­es­sary es­ca­la­tion to spe­cial­ist CAMHS.

“Some schools are us­ing the Scot­tish At­tain­ment Chal­lenge and the Pupil Eq­uity Fund to in­crease knowl­edge and ca­pac­ity to sup­port chil­dren.

“Lo­cal in­vest­ment has also led to more chil­dren be­ing seen this year month-on-month, since the sum­mer and there are plans to in­crease the spe­cial­ist CAMHS work­force fur­ther.”

Con­cerns Labour’s Richard Leonard

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