Framework to boost mental health cover

Better mental health services for children from birth until
their 18th birthday is among the standards set out in a national
service framework unveiled by the government this week.

The document, covering children, young people and maternity
services, says local services should arrange 24-hour cover and
mental health assessments within a day if the child’s needs
are urgent.

Specialist support for children’s mental health in early
years must also be provided and children and young people should be
cared for in appropriate and safe settings.

The framework, which sets out a 10-year plan for improvements in
children’s health and social care services, contains 11
standards. But, unlike other frameworks, this one does not attach
deadlines for implementation to each standard.

The Royal Colleges of Nursing, and Paediatrics and Child Health
welcomed the framework but warned that if its implementation was
left to local discretion, some areas might have difficulty
implementing the standards.

RCPCH president Alan Craft said: “Finally the NHS has been given
the green light to improve services for children and their
families. We urge all families and people working with children to
take the opportunity to use standards to push for better services
for children.”

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