Young people in Cambridge waiting 18 months to access mental health services

  • A report has found that young people in Cambridge are waiting over eighteen months to see mental health specialists.

    Written by the county’s clinical commissioning group, the report shows that specialist beds are a lacking and in the wake of a mental health epidemic, reports the Cambridge News. mentalhealth.jpg

    Currently there are around 460 young people waiting on the child and mental health services core waiting list, with an average wait time equalling 45 weeks.

    The report says: "Despite this work and some investment from the CCG, as well as increased investment from public health in commissioned voluntary sector provision, waiting lists for services have continued to increase. Commissioned voluntary and community sector organisations delivering mental health services also report an increase in self-harm and expression of suicidal thoughts among young people presenting to their services, thus increasing the demand on the staff within the existing services. This picture of demand is also reflected in increasing referrals to local authority locality teams for mental health issues, and a general increase in concern from schools about the levels of emotional wellbeing and mental health problems they are experiencing in young people."

    Jill Houghton, director of quality, safety and patient experience at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "Waiting times in specialist CAMHS are too long. To manage the current issues with demand and capacity waiting lists have been temporarily closed for autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) referrals, except for those where there are associated urgent mental health needs. The primary focus is to clear the waiting list backlog and sustain this going forward. A CAMHS summit was held in March 2015, with good stakeholder attendance to identify the key issues and develop an action plan was developed to address the key issues raised at the summit and work undertaken to address these areas of concern, for example working to reduce waiting times to below 18 weeks and creating a single point of access for CAMHS and local authority services."

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