ACP response to '£50m cuts' to CAMHS

The ACP has joined professional bodies and charities working with vulnerable children and young people in expressing serious concern following news that spending on CAMHS has fallen by nearly £50m in real terms in the last five years.

Heather Stewart, ACP Chair, said the knock-on effect of the cuts, revealed following a parliamentary answer last week, meant several Band 8 child psychotherapy posts were being downgraded.

"Many senior child psychotherapists and other specialist clinicians with significant and proven experience of working wtih extremely vulnerable and ill young people, have been made redundant.

"So effectively the reduction in funding has not only reduced the number of clinicians but the level of expertise. This is short sighted, leaving other lower banded posts more exposed without the support to deal with chronic and highly complex cases."

She also highlighted the current crisis in some accident and emergency departments adding that "cuts to community projects, sponsored by local authorities has meant that more young people who could have previously been helped in the community are turning up at CAMHS in crisis or requiring A&E input".

Last year the ACP submitted written evidence to the Health Select Committee Inquiry into CAMHS which stressed that without adequate provision of specialist and well-trained staff, CAMHS teams would "fail to meet the treatment needs of children, young people and their families who have mental health difficulties, thereby contributing to an increasingly mentally disturbed population, the human and financial costs of which will be felt in future generations."




Depriving children of the right to mental health treatment

Dogma driven cuts to the NHS and especially to child and adolescent mental health services means that children are, in effect, having their right to health treatment withdrawn from them. This is surely a human rights issue. If only politicians would take to the streets for this.