Care services minister Ivan Lewis today announced £31m to boost capacity in children and adolescent mental health services to meet targets on cutting the use of adult wards by children.
The money will go to 17 projects, providing 156 beds between them, 59 of which will be entirely new, with the rest involving refurbished or relocated facilities.
It is designed to fulfil the requirement in the Mental Health Act 2007 for 16- to 18-year-olds to receive age-appropriate treatment and end the inappropriate use of adult psychiatric wards for this group by 2010.
It should also ensure the government meets its target of eliminating the use of adult wards for children under 16 by November 2008. In the first quarter of 2007-8, there were 14 bed days on adult psychiatric wards for patients under 16 and 4,000 for those aged 16 and 17.
The funding was welcomed by campaigners and groups representing mental health professionals. However, the Mental Health Nurses Association – part of the union Unite – said ideally no patient under 18 should be treated on an adult ward.
Mental Health Nurses Association