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CCGs spending as little as £2 per child on CAMHS, leading psychiatrists find


17 November 2016

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Commissioners in Luton plan to spend as little as £2 per child on mental health services this year, according to research from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

In research into the amount of money clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) plan to spend on children’s mental health services, the college found that 25 CCGs have budgeted less than £25 per capita for mental health services in 2016/17.

Commissioners in Luton plan to spend as little as £2 per child on mental health services this year, according to research from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

In research into the amount of money clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) plan to spend on children’s mental health services, the college found that 25 CCGs have budgeted less than £25 per capita for mental health services in 2016/17.

This is despite the Government’s pledge to invest £119 million in child and adolescent mental health services this financial year, with the funding allocated directly to clinical commissioning groups.

Another £140 million is promised for 2017/18 with additional £30 million for eating disorder services.

It is up to CCGs to ensure that money is passed to the front line based on their assessment of local need.

Luton CCG tops the list of lowest spenders budgeting just £2.01 per child, while Enfield (£2.33) and Tower Hamlets (£4.45) come in second and third, with commissioners in 10 areas plan to spend less than £10 per child.

By comparison Birmingham South and Central CCG plans to spend £135.85 per child.

In a statement, the college says the figures show “that children and adolescents’ mental health is still underfunded when it comes to the share of NHS spending in many areas of the country”.

The researchers note that there are 52 CCGs in England allocating less than 5% of their total mental health budget to services for children and young people, despite the fact that one in 10 children aged 5-16 years has a diagnosable mental health disorder.

The findings follow a report from the Education Policy Institute Independent Commission on Children and Young People's Mental Health, which found that CCGs only received £75 million of the £250 million promised by the government for children’s mental health services.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the findings are a “national scandal”.

He said: “We know that more than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood and less than half were treated appropriately at the time. It is a national scandal that opportunities to prevent mental illness from occurring in childhood are being missed because of unacceptably low investment.”

Peter Hindley, chair of the RCPsych Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, added: “This research confirms the stories I hear from colleagues every day; that desperately needed money, promised to child and adolescent mental health services is not getting through to local services in many parts of the country.

“Without this investment, it will be nigh on impossible to deliver the best outcomes for children, young people and their families, let alone achieve the national target of ensuring 70,000 more children receive treatment for their mental illness by 2021.

“The College calls upon commissioners to revisit their planned spend in this vital yet chronically underfunded area.”

The college has mapped CCG spending on children and young peoples’ mental health.

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