The Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP) has signed up to the Equality4Mental Health Cross Party initiative launched last week by former Health Ministers. The ACP believes strongly that if we are to ensure equality for mental health we need a range of psychological therapists so that people have choice and the most appropriate intervention available at the right time. We support the parity of esteem argument asking Ministers to treat mental health equally with physical health and for the same right to timely access to evidence based treatment as those with physical health problems.
Some mental health problems in children are so complex and chronic that they require urgent access to treatment with a specialist such as a psychoanalytically trained child and adolescent psychotherapist. It is deeply worrying that the future training of professionals able to treat complex cases may be at risk in the new funding formats. So while the ACP supports the local transformation plans and making sure that services are appropriate for local communities, it wishes to remind government that the training of the future workforce requires national as well as local training schools and courses.
The autumn statement did not cover the NHS or mental health and Luciana Berger, a former shadow health minister, expressed suprise about this: “There is actually not one single mention in the 72-page Autumn Statement document of the words NHS, social care, mental health, and public health." However, two-thirds of NHS trusts are now reporting deficits, according to a National Audit Office report released this week.
ACP Chair, Heather Stewart has written a letter to James Morris MP saying:
"I do remain worried that money for training currently allocated to Health Education England may be distributed to local service at the potential cost of small (but national) trainings like that of psychoanalytic child psychotherapists. It appears that there has been a reprieve for 2017/18 but there is no assurance beyond that of funding for our training and thus of our four training schools (2 in London, one in Birmingham and one in Leeds)."
Heather Stewart was also concerned to read in the publicity for the New Savoy Conference 2017 that “a discipline that understood its true value across the public sector would now be facing the real prospect that funding for its future workforce may disappear altogether. Health Education England is pulling out in 2017.”
We are hoping that the government, despite not covering health or mental health in it's Autumn statement, might be able to reassure us that funding support for training child mental health specialists such as child psychotherapists, is not under threat.
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