Concern over poor facilities for young people with mental illness

A shortage of specialist beds means young people with mental
health problems have been admitted to hospital wards that fail to
meet their needs, a study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists

There were 54 patients aged under-18 staying on general
psychiatric wards and paediatric wards, according to the survey of
nine health authorities in England and Wales.

The findings suggest more than a third of young people admitted
for a mental illness are admitted to a general psychiatric or
paediatric ward.

Psychiatrists and paediatricians said that more than half of the
admissions were inappropriate but the patients were admitted
because there was no suitable facility available or the patient had
been refused.

The report authors said the number of cases studied was low and
so projections should be viewed with caution.

However, the findings suggested a shortage of beds in child and
adolescent in-patient psychiatric units in England and Wales.

If the admission of young people to these settings is to
continue then specialist skills need to be developed in the units
caring for them, said the researchers. If the admissions are to be
avoided then further investment in specialist in-patient care is
needed and the formulation of alternatives to admission, they

– The full paper is at


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