Warwickshire mental health services turned almost 1,000 children away in 12 months

Mental health news.
Mental health news.

13 per cent of children referred to mental health services in Coventry and Warwickshire were turned away from 2016-17, data obtained by the NSPCC shows.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Coventry and Warwickshire received 7,323 referrals from 2016-17 and turned away 927 children after assessing them.

In the same year 2,602 young people (36%) were not accepted by the service but were referred elsewhere.

From 2015-16, 15% (1,222) young people were turned away, with 41% (3,208) being referred elsewhere.

Waiting times for the service increased from 54 days in 2015-16 to 61 days in 2016-17.

The increase in waiting times comes despite a decrease in overall referrals (7,746 to 7,323) - although the number of young people being treated by the trust rose from 3,416 to 3,794 as it turned away fewer children.

The average waiting time of the 73 trusts surveyed was 45.73 for 2015-16 and 39.73 for 2016-17.

A Care Quality Commission report published this month gave Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust an overall ‘requires improvement rating’.

The report expressed concern over long waiting times for children and young people to access treatment for mental health problems.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “It is desperately sad to see so many young people facing distress around mental health issues being forced to wait months for assessment by CAMHS, many of whom are then rejected for treatment altogether.

“This risks leaving them in limbo while their condition potentially reaches crisis point.

“We recognise the hard work of mental health professionals in trying to help young people.

The issue is not isolated to Warwickshire - from a total of 652,023 cases referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) across the country, 17% (109,613) were turned away.

Information obtained by the Advertiser shows referrals to CAMHS in Coventry and Warwickshire increased from 4,452 in 2012-13 to 7,323 in 2016-17 - a trend a spokesperson for the trust described as “worrying”.

NHS Partnership Trust Coventry and Warwickshire has been approached for comment but has not provided one at the time of publishing.