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Found 42 results
  1. Content Article
    On 3 August 2022 an investigation was carried out into the death of Allison Vivian Jacome Aules. Allison was 12 years old when she passed away on the 19 July 2022. The investigation concluded at the end of the inquest on the 17 August 2023. The conclusion was that Allison died as a result of suicide, contributed to by neglect.
  2. News Article
    Ministers have vowed to reduce suicide rates in England with the launch of more than 100 new initiatives amid particular concerns over rising deaths and self-harm among children and young people. The pledge to reverse the trends within two and a half years came as the government launched its first prevention strategy in more than a decade. In 2022, there were 5,275 suicides in England, equivalent to 10.6 suicides per 100,000 people, according to the Office for National Statistics. “While overall the current suicide rate is not significantly higher than in 2012, the rate is not falling,” a new government document says. “We must do all we can to prevent more suicides, save many more lives and ultimately reduce suicide rates.” It highlights how rates of suicide among children and young people have increased in recent years, despite being low overall, adding: “Urgent attention is needed to address and reverse these trends.” The new measures being launched will also aid other specific groups at risk of suicide, including middle-aged men, autistic people, pregnant women and new mothers. Steve Barclay, the health secretary, said: “Too many people are still affected by the tragedy of suicide, which is so often preventable. This national cross-government strategy details over 100 actions we’ll take to ensure anyone experiencing the turmoil of a crisis has access to the urgent support they need.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 11 September 2023
  3. News Article
    National NHS officials have proposed a major shift in the funding model for inpatient mental health beds for children and young people, information seen by HSJ reveals. A report on child and adolescent mental health services by Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT), an NHS England national programme, recommends a move away from the current ‘payment per bed day’ model to a system which funds particular outcomes or “therapeutic models”. It appears the proposal in the GIRFT recommendations seen by HSJ would apply to both NHS and independent provision, although some NHS providers are already less likely to receive funding on a ”per bed day” basis. Ananta Dave, consultant CAMHS psychiatrist at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust, told HSJ that having agreed therapy and outcome measures as recommended by the report would not only boost patient experience but also lead to better results. “One inpatient bed can actually be the equivalent of 100 young people being looked after in the community. So these are precious resources we are talking about, hence the quality of inpatient units is really important. “It should not just be a tick-box exercise that a bed exists. Instead, it is about the quality of that service. If you simply go by the number of bed days, you’re unlikely to meet your target or meet your ambition of reducing the spend on inpatient services.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 16 May 2022
  4. News Article
    A 14-year-old autistic girl was unlawfully detained in hospital and restrained in front of scared young patients, a high court judge has found. On one occasion last month the teenager managed to break into a treatment room where a dying infant was receiving palliative care. She was restrained there by three security guards, Mr Justice MacDonald said in a judgment in the family court that ordered Manchester city council (MCC) to find the girl a suitable community care placement instead of what he described as the “brutal and abusive” and “manifestly unsuitable” hospital environment. Nurses witnessed the girl screaming “very loudly” and sounding “very scared” when repeatedly held down on her hospital bed so that she could not move her legs, arms or head, before being tranquillised. Other children on the ward were frightened to witness the frequent battles between the girl and security guards, the judge said. The judge noted that the teenager made “regular and determined” efforts to run away, sometimes using screwdrivers to try to unlock doors and windows, and running away from her family on walks. He described the teenager as having an autistic spectrum disorder and a learning disability. She demonstrated “complex and extreme behaviour” that could not be controlled even within a school environment involving six adults to one child supervision, he added. Despite this, the council and NHS trust decided to have the girl be detained in hospital on a general paediatric ward “solely as a place of safety”, without applying for the necessary court order to do so, the judge found. She did not require any medical treatment, the judge said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 5 April 2022
  5. News Article
    The children’s inpatient unit at an ‘outstanding’ mental health trust has been downgraded to ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), amid a surge in demand for its services. The CQC previously rated child and adolescent mental health wards at Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation Trust as “outstanding” in May 2019. But after an inspection in November and December 2021, these services were downgraded to “inadequate” overall and for the key categories of safety and leadership. Although inspecting a core service, the CQC said its visit was “not wide-ranging enough” to update overall trust ratings, so HPFT remains “outstanding” overall. Teenagers aged from 13 to 18 and admitted to Forest House, a 16-bed unit in Radlett providing HPFT’s only inpatient service for children and adolescents, told CQC inspectors they felt “unsafe”, dissatisfied with their care, and had experienced bullying by fellow patients. Leadership in the service had “significantly deteriorated” since previous inspections, CQC chiefs wrote in a report published today, and this was having a “knock-on effect in all areas of care being provided”. Staff morale was low and access to clinical psychologists limited, with a reduced ability to provide therapeutic interventions, inspectors added. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 30 March 2022
  6. News Article
    The police are investigating the death of a young person at a mental health hospital, The Independent can reveal. Police are investigating the death of a young girl at The Huntercombe Maidenhead mental health hospital in February. In a statement to The Independent: Thames Valley Police, said: “Thames Valley Police is conducting an investigation after the death of a girl following an incident at Huntercombe Hospital in Maidenhead on Saturday 12 February. The girl’s next of kin have been informed and our officers are supporting them. Our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time. An investigation is ongoing to understand the circumstances around this tragic incident.” The Care Quality Commission has also said it was notified of the young girls death. The care regulator said it could not comment further. The NHS confirmed to The Independent admissions to one of the hospital’s wards have been suspended. The 60-bed hospital was rated Inadequate and placed in special measures by the CQC in February 2021 following serious concerns over care of patients. Read full story Source: The Independent, 26 February 2022
  7. News Article
    About one in seven people in the UK now take medication to treat depression but some say they are not being given appropriate advice about the potential side-effects of the drugs they have been prescribed. Seonaid Stallan's son Dylan was a teenager when he began receiving treatment for body dysmorphia and depression. "He was struggling with the way he felt about himself, the way he looked," Seonaid said. "He was extremely anxious. He would be physically sick. He would be unable to leave the house." Dylan, from Glasgow, was treated with the antidepressant Fluoxetine from the age of 16. But when he turned 18, his medication was changed to Sertraline. Within two months of his prescription change he had taken his own life. Read full story Source: BBC, 9 August 2023
  8. News Article
    Teens who have been bullied by their peers, or who have considered or attempted suicide, may be more likely to have more frequent headaches than teens who have not experienced any of these problems, according to a study published in the August 2, 2023, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study does not prove that bullying or thoughts of suicide cause headaches; it only shows an association. “Headaches are a common problem for teenagers, but our study looked beyond the biological factors to also consider the psychological and social factors that are associated with headaches,” said study author Serena L. Orr, MD, MSc, of the University of Calgary in Canada. “Our findings suggest that bullying and attempting or considering suicide may be linked to frequent headaches in teenagers, independent of mood and anxiety disorders.” The study involved more than 2.2 million teens with an average age of 14 years. Read the full article here: https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/997216
  9. News Article
    There has been an unusual rise in the number of children and teenagers around the world diagnosed with type 1 diabetes since Covid, say researchers. A new study in JAMA Network Open journal has collated available data from different countries, including the UK, on more than 38,000 young people diagnosed during the pandemic. The authors describe the increase in cases of diabetes as "substantial". More work is needed to understand why the rise is happening, they say. Some of the rise could be attributed to catch-up - from backlogs and delays when health services were shut - but does not explain all of the newly diagnosed cases, say scientists. Before the pandemic, the incidence rate of childhood type 1 diabetes was already increasing - by about 3% a year.
  10. News Article
    A struggling mental health trust is being prosecuted over accusations it failed to protect a teenager at a children’s inpatient unit. Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust ran the former West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough until the Care Quality Commission (CQC) closed it in 2019. The CQC is now prosecuting the trust, alleging it breached the Health and Social Care Act 2008 in relation to the death of Christie Harnett, who took her own life at the facility in June 2019. In a statement, the regulator claimed TEWV “failed to provide safe care and treatment” by exposing the patient to a “significant risk of avoidable harm”. A CQC spokeswoman added: “Our main priority is always the safety of people using health and social care services, and if we have concerns we will not hesitate to take action in line with our regulatory powers. We will report further as soon as we are able to do so.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 30 June 2022
  11. News Article
    A coroner has said Britain is failing young people and more will die because of under-resourced mental health services, as she ruled that neglect led to the death of a 14-year-old girl. Penelope Schofield, the senior coroner for West Sussex, said she would write to the health secretary, Sajid Javid, to raise concerns after the case of Robyn Skilton, who killed herself after being let down by “gross failures” in NHS mental health services. Robyn, from Horsham in West Sussex, disappeared from her family home and took her own life in a park on 7 May last year, her inquest in Chichester heard. Despite serious concerns about her mental health, Robyn did not get face-to-face consultations, was not seen by a child psychiatrist or assessed for mental health issues, and was discharged from an NHS service a month before her suicide though she was on its high-risk “red list”. Her father, Alan Skilton, told the inquest he pleaded for help, and he described the lack of care his daughter received as “astonishing”. He said he believed that if Robyn had been seen earlier, her mental health would have improved and she would not have killed herself. The coroner said: “As a society we are failing young people.” She said she was shocked to hear that the number of young people seeking mental health help had increased by 95%. “Trying to manage it without more resources means we are not providing the help that young people need. Robyn’s case is a testament to that. It’s a clear risk that more lives will be lost if we don’t address it.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 June 2022
  12. News Article
    A group of transgender people have lost their legal case against NHS England over waiting times to get seen by a gender specialist. The two trans adults and two trans children had tried to get the wait times - more than four years in one of their cases - deemed illegal. But a High Court judge ruled on Monday the waiting times are lawful. The Good Law Project - which helped to bring the legal action - said it would seek permission to appeal. The four people brought the legal action against NHS England (NHSE) over the waiting time to get a first appointment with a gender dysphoria specialist. The claimants argued that NHS England was failing to meet a duty to ensure 92% of patients referred for non-urgent care start treatment within 18 weeks. They said the waiting times were discriminatory, arguing the delays faced by trans people were longer than for other types of NHS treatment. But the judge dismissed the claim on several grounds. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 January 2023
  13. News Article
    GP records show a sharp rise in teenage girls in the UK developing eating disorders and self-harming during the Covid pandemic, a study has found. The increases were greatest among girls living in the wealthiest areas, which could be due to better GP access. Young women have told the BBC that the lack of control over their lives during lockdown was a behavioural trigger. Eating disorders and self-harming have been rising among children and young people for a number of years but "increased substantially" between 2020 and 2022, the study found. Over that period, around 2,700 diagnoses of eating disorders were anticipated among 13-16-year-olds, but 3,862 were actually observed - 42% more than the expected figure. Dr Shruti Garg, from the University of Manchester - a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the study author - called it a "staggering rise" which highlighted an urgent need to improve early access to support. Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 June 2023
  14. News Article
    An autistic girl aged 16 spent nearly seven months in a busy general hospital due to a lack of suitable children's mental health services in England. The teenager, called Molly, spent about 200 days living in a side-room of a children's ward at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. It is not a mental health unit. Experts say a general hospital was not the right place for her, but she had nowhere else to go because of a lack of help in the community. Agency mental health nurses were brought in because she needed constant, three-to-one observations to keep her safe. Her family says security guards were also often stationed outside her room. Like many autistic people, Molly finds dealing with noise difficult. The clamour of the hospital overloaded her senses and her behaviour sometimes became challenging. She was restrained numerous times. A spokesperson for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System (ICS) said it was sorry Molly "did not receive care in an environment better suited to her needs", adding: "Molly's safety has always been our priority." Campaigners describe the shortage of appropriate support for people with autism as a human rights crisis. Read full story Source: BBC News, 10 May 2023
  15. News Article
    Recreational vaping will be banned in Australia, as part of a major crackdown amid what experts say is an "epidemic". Minimum quality standards will also be introduced, and the sale of vapes restricted to pharmacies. Nicotine vapes already require a prescription in Australia, but the industry is poorly regulated and a black market is thriving. Health Minister Mark Butler says the products are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts in Australia. Also known as e-cigarettes, vapes heat a liquid - usually containing nicotine - turning it into a vapour that users inhale. They are widely seen as a product to help smokers quit. But in Australia, vapes have exploded in popularity as a recreational product, particularly among young people in cities. Vapes are considered safer than normal cigarettes because they do not contain harmful tobacco - the UK government is even handing them to some smokers for free in its "swap to stop" programme.But health experts advise that vapes are not risk-free - they can often contain chemicals - and the long-term implications of using them are not yet clear.Read full story Source: BBC News, 2 May 2023
  16. News Article
    More teenagers are at risk of contracting rare but serious diseases due to a fall in immunisations as a result of the pandemic, according to a report. The uptake of vaccines among teenagers in secondary schools that protect against meningococcal disease, diphtheria, tetanus and polio has dropped since COVID affected routine school immunisation programmes provided by the NHS. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) found that 69% of children in year nine, aged 13 and 14, had the MenACWY vaccine and the Td/IPV booster in 2021-22. This marked a 7% drop in coverage for both vaccines compared to the previous year. The 3-in-1 Td/IPV booster helps provide teens with long-lasting protection against tetanus, diphtheria and polio, diseases that can result in serious illness or even death. Doctor Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA said: "In recent years we have seen vaccine uptake fall due to the challenges posed by the pandemic. "Many young people who missed out on their vaccinations have already been caught up, but more needs to be done to ensure all those eligible are vaccinated. "These vaccines offer the best protection as young people start their journey into adulthood and mixing more widely - whether going to college, starting work, travelling or going to summer festivals." Read full story Source: Sky News, 24 April 2023
  17. Content Article
    Young people and expert mental healthcare staff say patients are unlikely to receive in-patient mental health care unless they “have attempted suicide multiple times”, according to a new report published by Look Ahead Care and Support. Launched in the House of Lords, the report – funded by Wates Family Enterprise Trust and produced by experts Care Research – argues Accident and Emergency departments have become an ‘accidental hub’ for children and young people experiencing crisis but are ill-equipped to offer the treatment required.   Based on in-depth interviews with service users, parents and carers, and NHS and social care staff from across England, the findings from the Look Ahead Care and Support report draws on experience of treating depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, eating disorders, addiction and psychosis.  
  18. Content Article
    Developed in 2020, this Picker survey aims to understand the experiences of cancer and tumour care among children and their parents/carers. The results will help improve children’s cancer services across England. The survey, conducted by the charity Picker on behalf of NHS England, included children, young people, and their parents – with separate questions designed to be appropriate to different age groups. Children and young people were included in the survey if they had a confirmed cancer or tumour diagnosis, received inpatient or day case care from an NHS Principal Treatment Centre (PTC) in 2021, and were under 16 years of age at the time of their discharge.
  19. News Article
    A growing number of children with mental health problems are being treated on adult psychiatric wards as services struggle to cope with a surge in demand following the pandemic, the NHS watchdog has warned. There were 249 admissions of under-18s to adult psychiatric wards in England in 2021-22, according to data provided by NHS trusts to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), up 30% on the year before. Of the children admitted to adult wards, 58% of cases were because the child needed to be admitted immediately for their safety. But in more than a quarter of cases, 27%, the child was admitted to the adult ward because there was no alternative child inpatient or community outreach service available. The findings come more than 15 years after the government set a target to end inappropriate admissions of children to adult psychiatric wards. The number of admissions gradually reduced but has now risen again, the CQC figures suggest. Dr Elaine Lockhart, chair of the Child and Adolescent Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the figures were “a concern but not a surprise. We’ve got a lot of children and young people who have become more unwell. Services are really struggling to meet their needs,” she said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 30 October 2022
  20. News Article
    Ministers have been urged to launch a public inquiry into the care of mental health patients after The Independent revealed allegations that patients had suffered “systemic abuse” in inpatient units. A joint investigation with Sky News found that teenagers at facilities run by The Huntercombe Group had been left with post-traumatic stress disorder by their treatment despite hundreds of warnings to regulators and the NHS. Now the government is facing calls to review all mental health care services over fears that these cases are “the tip of the iceberg”. Labour’s shadow mental health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan has called for a “rapid review” by the government into inpatient mental health services, while Deborah Coles, the chief executive of charity Inquest, has called on the new health secretary Steve Barclay to launch a statutory public inquiry. Read full story Source: The Independent, 28 October 2022
  21. News Article
    One in four 17- to 19-year-olds in England had a probable mental disorder in 2022 – up from one in six in 2021, according to an NHS Digital report. Based on an online survey, rates among teenage boys and girls were similar – but twice as high in 17- to 24-year-old women compared with men. The charity Mind said the UK government "will be failing an entire generation unless it prioritises investment in young people's mental-health services". Matthew Rimmington, 24, is working full-time after studying acting at university, but aged 18, he felt his life was falling apart. It started with symptoms of anxiety, which deteriorated until his feelings really started scaring him. Despite going to his GP and being referred to NHS mental-health services, Matthew received no early support. "I was put on one waiting list and then another one," he says. "It was a constant back and forth and we never got anywhere." Mind interim chief executive officer Sophie Corlett said funding should be directed towards mental-health hubs for young people in England, where they can go when they first start to struggle with their mental health. "The earlier a young person gets support for their mental health, the more effective that support is likely to be," she said. "Young people and their families cannot be sidelined any longer by the government, who need to prioritise the crisis in youth mental health as a matter of national emergency." Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 November 2022
  22. News Article
    A large study today from Germany shows that children and adolescents are at the same relative risk of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 90 days or more after acute infection as adults are, according to findings in PLOS Medicine. Though kids and adolescents have far fewer deaths or severe outcomes from COVID-19 infections compared to adults, little is known about Long or post-Covid symptoms in this age-group, or symptoms that persist for more than 12 weeks after acute infection. Researchers from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, used data from half of the German population to determine that kids and adults have the same relative risk of experiencing post-Covid symptoms at 90 days following infection. Martin Roessler, the lead author of the study, said there were significant symptom overlap among kids and adults who experienced symptoms 90 days or more after acute infection. "We found 5 identical outcomes among the 10 outcomes with the highest relative risk among children/adolescents and adults. These symptoms are cough, fever, headache, malaise/fatigue/exhaustion, throat or chest pain," he told CIDRAP News. Other symptoms were more commonly seen in adults, but not kids. Those included a loss of taste or smell, fever, and shortness of breath. Daniel Blatt, MD, a pediatric infectious disease physician at the post-COVID clinic at Norton Children's Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, said he was not surprised by the study's findings. "It's unclear if Long Covid is the same in children and adults, in terms of pathophysiology, but it's just as real," he said. Blatt, who was not involved in the study, said his clinic also collects data on children and Long Covid. He said the most common symptoms reported in his patients are fatigue, anxiety, and "brain fog," followed by some shortness of breath or muscle pain. "The good news is kids tend to get better, regardless of what intervention is needed," Blatt said. As in adult Long Covid, there's no one-size-fits-all approach for pediatric Long Covid patients. "Some need reassurance; some need a graduated exercise program." Read full story Source: CIDRAP, 10 November 2022
  23. News Article
    A teenager died after a breathing tube was possibly squashed by a wheel of her hospital trolley during emergency surgery, an inquest has heard. Jasmine Hill, 19, had a cardiac arrest shortly after undergoing a procedure on her neck at Gloucestershire royal hospital in Gloucester. The inquest heard that a report commissioned by lawyers acting for Hill’s family referred to the tube being “squashed by the wheel of a trolley”. Hill, from Cirencester, had been readmitted to the hospital after her neck became swollen five days after a thyroidectomy – the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland – in September 2020. Doctors thought the site of the surgery in Hill’s neck, which was red and swollen, may have become infected and it was decided the wound should be cleaned under general anaesthetic. The procedure took less than an hour and the teenager went into cardiac arrest shortly after she was moved by staff from the operating table to a bed. Gloucestershire coroner’s court heard an endotracheal tube, which supports breathing, was positioned behind Hill’s head and away from her neck, fixed to a holder and connected to the ventilator. The assistant Gloucestershire coroner Roland Wooderson asked Dr Hiro Ishii, who carried out the procedure, whether he was aware that the anaesthetist had checked the position of the endotracheal tube. Ishii replied: “I didn’t make a formal inquiry at that stage.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 November 2022
  24. News Article
    Some of the most senior gender identity specialists in the UK have accused their professional body of “contributing to an atmosphere of fear” around young people receiving gender-related healthcare. More than 40 clinical psychologists have signed an open letter to the Association of Clinical Psychologists UK in protest at the organisation’s recent position statement on the provision of services for gender-questioning children and young people. They say they believe there was a failure to properly consult experts in the field or service users, resulting in a “misleading” statement that “perpetuates damaging discourses about the work and gender-diverse identities more broadly”. About half of those signatories are current or former holders of senior roles – including the current director – at what was the only NHS gender identity service for children in England and Wales, the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust in London. NHS England announced in July it would be closing the GIDS and replacing it with regional hubs, after being warned by the interim report of the Cass Review into gender services for young people that having only one provider was “not a safe or viable long-term option”. In 2021, inspectors rated the service “inadequate” overall and highlighted overwhelming caseloads, deficient record-keeping and poor leadership, suggesting that record waiting lists meant thousands of vulnerable young people were at risk of self-harm as they waited years for their first appointment. In a position statement published last month, the ACP-UK wrote that “the new, regional services will have to offer a radical alternative [after the closure of GIDS] to meet the needs of all young people with gender dysphoria.” The letter suggests: “An alternative interpretation is that it is possible to provide support for distress related to gender identity where mental health needs and neurodiversity are also present, and remain cognisant of all factors within formulation-based practice”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 2 November 2022
  25. Content Article
    This Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) investigation explores the care of patients who present to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) with questions about their gender identity and are referred to specialised gender dysphoria services. Gender dysphoria is a sense of unease, distress or discomfort that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. For example, a child who is registered as male at birth might feel or say that they are a girl, or feel that neither ‘boy’ nor ‘girl’ are the right word to describe how they feel about themselves. Gender dysphoria is not identified as a mental illness by the NHS, but some people may develop mental health problems because of gender dysphoria.
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