YoungMinds has welcomed the progress made by councils and the NHS in improving child and adolescent mental health services, as government figures produced this week showed strong performance against a new indicator.
Roger Catchpole, head of training and development at the children’s mental health charity, said the data on the effectiveness of Camhs was an “important step”, despite it being based on self-assessment by councils.
The indicator on the effectiveness of Camhs was introduced last year and applies to both councils and primary care trusts. This week’s figures will be used as a baseline to judge future performance.
Previous performance regime
Though it is a new indicator, three of its four elements – offering a full range of Camhs services for children and young people with learning disabilities; providing appropriate accommodation and support for 16-17 year olds; and making 24-hour cover available to meet urgent mental health needs – were assessed under a previous target.
The fourth element focuses on the joint commissioning of early intervention support.
Ratings were on a scale of one (signifying no protocols in place) to four (full implementation) for each element, giving a maximum score of 16. The average score across England was 13.8, with councils in London achieving the highest average of 14.9 and those in the east of England the lowest at 12.5.
YoungMinds: Figures suggest “real improvement”
Commenting on the results, Catchpole said: “Overall, the figures suggest real improvement in child and adolescent mental health services, especially with regards to access for children and young people with learning disabilities, which can only be a good thing. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure services are meeting the mental health and psychological well-being needs of all children and young people in England.”
He added: “There is work in progress to establish more robust outcome measures, as recommended in the Camhs review, and we look forward to being able to use such data to get a more detailed picture of the effectiveness of services in the future.”