Sarah's challenge on mental health crisis for children and young people


Sarah has recently challenged the Government in Parliament on the availability of specialist mental health beds for children and young people. The Labour MP for Rotherham questioned Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support asking: Will the Minister indicate when a clear strategy for the commissioning of tier 4 mental health beds will be determined, and what additional resources will be made available to support the mental health needs of children and young people? The current situation is intolerable.

The Minister's response was that the rapid review that is being undertaken by NHS England will report in March, but he did not comment on implementation or allocation of additional resources to address the chronic shortfall of beds.

Liz Kendall, MP for Leicester West and Shadow Health Minister went on to speak about the fourteen-year-old daughter of one of her constituents who desperately needed a bed, but was told by the local trust's chief executive that not a single bed was available anywhere in the country in the NHS or the independent sector.

Recent reports have shown that an increasing number of under-18s with mental health problems in England are being treated on adult psychiatric wards.

Sarah commented: The situation is absolutely unacceptable and it must be addressed urgently as, far too often, we are seeing young people turned away or not given the help they need.

In many trusts, demand for mental health beds is outstripping the number available and this is currently the case in Rotherham.

These specialist beds are still in very short supply and recent investigations have shown that over 1,500 mental health beds have been closed since April 2011. This is a massive 9% reduction and many children are having to travel hundreds of miles across the country to receive hospital treatment.

"For me, it is outrageous that the funding cuts this Tory-led Government make mean that young people are not getting the specialist support they need. Every child and young person deserves a good start in life."


NewsVanessa Johns