Young people with mental health problems still being treated on adult wards

The following is a news story from Hafal’s Big Lottery-funded Young People’s Information Hub. To access the Hub please visit:

A Freedom of Information request by WalesOnline has revealed that young people with mental health problems are still being treated on adult wards despite a commitment by the Welsh Government to end what has been described as a “scandalous” practice.

The WalesOnline request revealed at least 38 under-18s spent 380 “bed days” on adult wards in 2011/12 and that over the last 10 years at least 587 children spent 9,516 bed days on adult wards.

The figures are likely to be higher as some Health Boards did not supply information for all the years.

Hafal’s Young People’s Information Officer John Gilheaney said: “The figures are disappointing. They show that despite the excellent mental health legislation we have in Wales there is still work to be done in putting it into practice particularly in relation to young people.”

Responding to the figures a Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “Very sadly, but thankfully rarely, children sometimes face psychiatric problems requiring hospitalisation, and we owe them the best available treatment.

“Welsh Government guidance is clear that no child should be admitted to an adult ward unless there are clear issues concerning the safety of the child.

“One of the commitments in the Breaking the Barriers Action Plan (2010), which looks to improve mental health and emotional wellbeing services for children and young people, is to reduce the number of children and young people admitted to adult wards.

“We have invested £42m in dedicated Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service inpatient facilities in North and South Wales, the North Wales facility opening in 2009 and the south Wales facility in 2011.”

To read more on this story, including the views of leading Welsh politicians on the figures, please visit: