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Ten-fold increase in children waiting too long for specialist care


The number of children and young people waiting longer than recommended for admission to a mental health bed has increased nearly ten-fold since last summer, according to figures from one NHS region seen by HSJ.

There has been major concern about worsening mental health of children and young people through the pandemic, but these are thought to be the first official figures to emerge indicating the extent of the growth in waiting times.

Board papers show that, across the NHS’ South East region, from mid-March to mid-April this year, about 50 young people each week were waiting more than the recommended time for admission or transfer into a child and adolescent inpatient mental health unit. Last June, the weekly average was less than six.

The papers show much of the rise was due to eating disorders referrals, which rose from five in June to nearly 30 in early March. However, other specialist services also saw rises.

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Source: HSJ, 25 May 2021

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