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Services for children and young people with emotional and mental health needs, 24/11/09 [W]

A report published jointly by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Wales Audit Office, Estyn, and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, has found that mental health services in Wales are still failing many children and young people.

The report acknowledges that some improvements have been made in recent years, including:

  • New funding streams to develop parenting and family intervention services;
  • Expanding school based counselling;
  • And the introduction of primary mental health workers who support professionals, such as GPs and school nurses, working with children and young people.

However, the report concludes that there is too much variation across Wales in the availability and quality services, for example:

  • Unlike other parts of the UK there are no specialist mental health services in the community for children under five;
  • In parts of Wales some groups of young people do not have access to the specialist mental health services that are in place ;
  • Specialist community services, including services for young people with eating disorders are too variable;
  • Transition arrangements for the transfer of young people to adult services when they get older are not good enough;
  • Services are often not child friendly and many children and young people are not involved enough in planning their care;
  • The access to care and support for young people varies substantially across localities in Wales;
  • A number of practices are putting children at risk including placing significant numbers of children inappropriately, on paediatric or adult mental health wards.

The report, which makes 16 recommendations to the Assembly Government, health boards and local authorities in Wales, is available to download from the Wales Audit Office website.