MPs urged to protect cash for adolescent services

Adolescent mental health services need ring-fenced grants, the
Commons health select committee heard last week, during its inquiry
into children’s health.

Giving its evidence to the inquiry, the Association of Directors
of Social Services called on the government and health authorities
to reassess the priority given to young people with mental health

The ADSS advocated a policy similar to the mental illness
specific grant to ensure health and local authorities invested in
this underfunded area.

Child and family guidance clinics were no longer able to cope
with young people’s complex mental health needs, said the

Only 5 per cent of funds allocated to mental health services
went to young people, although they represented about 25 per cent
of the population, it added.

The Association of County Councils in its evidence to the
inquiry pointed out major problems in psychiatric care for
adolescents and also arranging speech therapy services for

Psychiatric services were ‘in need of review’, the report said,
with local authorities experiencing a lack of access to specialist
health services for very disturbed young people.

The problems with speech therapy arose from divisions between
health and social services, with some social services departments
having to negotiate with several NHS trusts.

The ACC added that recent mergers of health authorities could
help integrate services.

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