Ex-child soldiers ‘shunted around’ Former child soldiers seeking
asylum in the UK are not receiving enough mental health support,
the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ annual conference heard last
Dr Guinevere Tufnell, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Great
Ormond Street’s traumatic stress clinic, said the number of
children currently in the UK who had lived through or fought in war
was not properly monitored.
She said unaccompanied former child soldiers faced particular
problems, being shunted from hostel to detention centre while
mental health services failed to adequately deal with their
The conference, in Edinburgh, also debated the National Institute
for Clinical and Health Excellence’s recommendation that the NHS
stop providing four Alzheimer’s drugs on cost grounds.
Professor John O’Brien, of Newcastle University, urged
pharmaceutical companies to cut the price of the drugs with a view
to positively influencing Nice’s final decision on the drugs, due
later this month.
Delegates also heard that a study found that delayed discharges at
a Birmingham adolescent mental health unit were costing the NHS
more than £1m, mainly because social services had either
failed to carry out assessments or find community placements.
Dr Shivani Aggarwal looked into the experience of 19 patients at
the adolescent mental health unit at Parkview Hospital in
Birmingham who were “bed blocked” for an average of four months.