MPs in the House of Commons are today being urged not to reject a change in the law that would prevent children being placed inappropriately in adult psychiatric wards in England and Wales.
The amendment to the Mental Health Bill passed in the House of Lords protects children under 18 from being placed on adult wards and ensures they are looked after by specially trained staff.
The government has indicated it will overturn the amendment and it is being debated by MPs today.
The Mental Health Alliance, a coalition of 80 organisations campaigning on the Mental Health Bill, urged MPs not to reject the amendment.
Andy Bell, chair of the Alliance, said: “Too many children are being admitted to adult mental health wards. For many the experience is traumatic and can do lasting damage. Vulnerable children who need care and treatment often leave in a worse condition than when they arrived.
“This amendment is a chance to put right a situation that has gone on for too long. The NHS needs to prioritise and invest in the creation of mental health services that are fit for children. Only legislation of this kind will achieve the change that is needed to prevent children from being put at risk in an adult environment.”