Fall in referrals triggers confusion

Government figures showing a fall in referrals to child and
adolescent psychiatrists have perplexed those in the sector.

The figures, revealed by community care minister Stephen Ladyman in
response to a question in the House of Commons, show that there has
been a huge fall in referrals by GPs and NHS staff. The figures
have dropped from 69,841 in 1997-8 to 46,574 in 2002-3.

Mental health charity Young Minds said it was baffled by the
figures. Lee Miller, training and consultancy manager at the
charity, said one reason could be the investment in tier 2
services, where specialist workers work in the community such as in
schools or GP practices.

But he said that, in his experience of working in a specialist tier
3 child and adolescent mental health service, the number of
referrals were rising rather than falling.

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