News from Len Duvall OBE: More Funding Needed for Children’s Mental Health Services
Local London Assembly Member, Len Duvall AM, is urging the Government to fund improvements to local children’s mental health services. His call comes in the wake of a recently published Children’s Commissioner’s report awarding Lewisham CCG a score of only 11 out of 25 for the standard of its provision in this area. Neighbouring Greenwich CCG was awarded a score of 17 out 25.
Figures from the State of Children’s Mental Health Services report have also showed that children in Lewisham have to wait 59 days, on average, to access local mental health services and that 11% of patient referrals are closed before treatment is provided.
The Children’s Commissioner has warned that children’s mental health service provision in England is a “postcode lottery” and a “decade away” from achieving decent standards across the board. Amongst other recommendations, the report calls for greater transparency and accountability from the NHS, local authorities and schools about the level of care they provide to children.
In London, the top five performing Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) spend, on average, over twice the proportion of their budgets on children’s mental health provision than the lowest performing five.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has highlighted that CCGs are struggling to meet increased demand for Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS) due to insufficient funding. Since 2013, Government funding for the Early Intervention Grant has dropped by half a billion pounds, with further cuts on the horizon.
The latest stats from the NHS also show that almost 1 in 5 mental health nurse posts in London are vacant.
Local London Assembly Member, Len Duvall AM, said:
“It is grossly unjust that some of the most vulnerable children in our community are unable to receive the same mental health support and care as those in other parts of the capital.
“With neighbouring Greenwich CCG gaining a much higher rating than Lewisham, we must take action to end this postcode lottery which is letting young people down and leaving them at needless risk.
“Most of all, the Government needs to fairly fund NHS mental health care and council services, so that essential priorities are not in competition for resources. The next budget will be a test of the Government’s commitment to children’s mental health. Local NHS bodies also need to make sure children’s mental health care is top of the agenda if new funding is announced”.