Urgent improvements needed in mental health services for children and young people in Wales says report

Mental health services in Wales are still failing many children and young people, despite some improvement in recent years, a report published jointly today by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Wales Audit Office, Estyn, and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales suggests.

The report acknowledges the recent improvements that have been made, but highlights the barriers that are currently preventing further improvement – such as the way services are planned and provided, and issues around workforce development, staff training and performance management.

The report’s recommendations call for:
• The Assembly Government to develop an action plan within six months of the report being published to address the issues identified concerning the availability and quality of services.
• Health Boards and Local authorities to develop local multi agency plans for implementing the priorities and targets in the national action plan.
• The Assembly Government to commission the development of information for children, young people and their parents on their rights relating to child and adolescent mental health services and what they should expect from these services.
• The Assembly Government and other public bodies to introduce effective arrangements for managing and scrutinising performance, ensuring results are widely available.

The Auditor General for Wales, Jeremy Colman said today: “There have been some improvements in recent years in mental health services for children and young people. However, additional investment alone will not deliver the further improvements needed, and the Assembly Government should take the lead in ensuring that changes to the design and delivery of services, as recommended in this report, are fully implemented.”

Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of user-led mental health charity Hafal, said: “We have long been aware of the deficiencies in services for young people. We are about to launch a new national information service to meet the need for appropriate advice and guidance for young people with a mental illness in Wales. We have also run pilot projects in Neath Port Talbot and Powys supporting 16-25s to achieve recovery.

“We welcome the new report as it clarifies the situation in Wales and provides action points to move forward. Our Members now call on the Assembly Government and other agencies to act on its findings so that young people’s needs are addressed as early as possible.”

To read the report, go to: http://www.wao.gov.uk/assets/englishdocuments/CAMHS_eng.pdf