Delay to children services’s grant leaves primary care trusts fuming

The Department of Health has failed to pay primary care trusts a major children’s mental health service grant four months after the payments were due.

Trusts are still waiting to find out how much they will receive this year for child and adolescent mental health services just a week after it emerged the DH had written to them warning they were unlikely to meet a key Camhs target by the end of the year.

The leaked letter required trusts to notify the department of their plans to meet the target to deliver a comprehensive Camhs service by December and said DH officials would provide “targeted support” to trusts that were not on course.

Camhs funding is split between PCTs, which received £50m last year, and local authorities, which receive the majority of funding. But PCTs are concerned about the delay and trusts in London have written a joint letter to the DH to complain.

Young Minds’ consultancy and training manager Lee Miller said PCTs were being asked to deliver targets with one hand tied behind their back. He said local commissioners were unsure whether to plan on the basis of the funding eventually coming through or on the basis that the money would not arrive.

A DH spokesperson said the department was aware of the delay in payment and hoped to announce it “in due course” but £86m had already been paid this year to local authorities.

Meanwhile, Royal College of Psychiatrists registrar Sue Bailey has called for better transitional arrangements between children’s and adults’ mental health services, particularly for young people at risk of developing personality disorders.

Key points

  • Local authorities received £86m Camhs funding in April but primary care trusts are still to be notified of their allocations.
  • It is feared that services could be threatened by the delay.
  • London PCTs have written to the Department of Health to protest.
  • DH said it would announce the payment “in due course”.

    Additional reading
    NHS children’s services targets ‘too ambitious to hit’

    Further information
    Young Minds
    Royal College of Psychiatrists

    Contact the author


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