Two young people facing mental health crises were left on paediatric wards for months while different agencies across a health system struggled to find appropriate placements.
The patients – who were both autistic and had learning disabilities, with special educational needs – were admitted to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust (MTW) last year after attending emergency departments more than 10 times within a two-month period.
They were left on a paediatric ward – one of the patients for four months – as this was the “only available place of safety as opposed to the optimum setting to meet their needs,” according to Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board’s “learning review” of children and young people with complex needs, which the two cases prompted.
The review, which HSJ obtained under a Freedom of Information request, revealed several problems with joint working, despite a multidisciplinary team meeting regularly to discuss the young patients’ needs.
Since the review, a new escalation process has been introduced, urgent mental health risk assessments in the community have been enhanced and a three-month pilot of a self-harm service has been implemented at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, part of MTW.
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Source: HSJ, 17 November 2023