£143m announced for children's mental health services in England

Despite heralding the announcement that mental health services for children and young people are to receive £143m in improvement funding the National Children's Bureau (NCB) said yesterday that "consistent investment" is needed to bring these services to parity with those for adults.

The funding is part of a £1.25billion package of increased spending on CAMH services which was announced in March's budget. The BBC reports that the money for 2015/16 is short of the £250million Department of Health officials had expected to be spent this year. It is estimated a further £30million will be spent helping people with eating disorders this year.

Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the NCB, said: "The government has responded positively to the growing consensus among campaigining organisations and children themselves that mental health services for children and young people are in urgent need of support.

"The announcement of £143million of funding this year, as well as extra cash for services tackling eating disorders, is a good start. But after years of neglect, mental health services for children and young people will require consistent investment over the years ahead to make them adequate to meet the needs of young people, and bring these services to parity with those of adults."

The new package of funding is likely to include a guarantee that by 2020, 95 per cent of patients will be seen within four weeks of being referred, with the most urgent cases seen within a week.

Sarah Brennan, head of charity YoungMinds, said she was not worried about how much would be spent this year as long as it was "spent intelligently".

"They should use it to gear up this year, organise themselves and hire the right staff, allowing them to make next year a year of real transformation."