Mental Healthcare 'Not Fit For Purpose'

A Health Minister Has Described Mental Healthcare As 'Not Fit For Purpose'


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
Mental health services for young people in England are in need of drastic change and are stuck in the dark ages, according to a government care minister. 

Norman Lamb is determined for mental health services to reform in order to provide better care for young people and has been looking into different methods to modernise current medical facilities to make services more accessible.

Problems in children's mental healthcare have been explored in an investigation by BBC News and the online journal Community Care. 

The broadcaster and publisher found that more children are now being treated in adult hospitals and are having to travel a considerable distance for help, at the same time as councils are cutting down on services.

In addition, the NHS revealed it had no idea of the extent of mental health problems that affect children. 

It is reported that one in ten children and young people aged five to 16 suffer from a mental illness, but the NHS only provides 0.6 per cent of its funding on these services.

Mr Lamb believes that the £9 million, purpose-built children's mental health unit in Colchester should be used as an example of best practice in the NHS.
The St Aubyn Centre has ten intensive care beds, 15 general psychiatric beds and a suite to accommodate young people who suffer from mental illnesses who have been detained by the police. 

Jonny Benjamin, who suffered from schizophrenia from a young age, believes a lack of facilities contributed to him not being diagnosed as suicidal when he was a child. He commented: "If I'd got the support I needed ten years ago, I don't think I'd be in the position I'm in today." 

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of Young Minds, said: "We can't have discussions about provision of services without talking about resources. Ultimately, they're (the NHS) going to have to spend some money."

Opposition ministers have long argued NHS cuts are leaving mental health trusts without adequate resourcing, but the government believes its long term-strategy will result in improved care.

Expert Opinion
We continue to see the devastating consequences of young people with mental health issues not being given the appropriate care and support they need. They are often vulnerable and it is vital specific care plans are implemented and followed to ensure patients are able to manage their conditions and live with them as best as possible.

“Action is needed to improve mental health resources and services across the country so that people suffering mental health issues can access the specialist care and support they need. Often children with mental illness have been failed already and to then fail to provide appropriate treatment will be regarded as another betrayal, possibly leading to a lifetime of difficulties."
Tracey Storey, Partner