CQC completes initial review of mental health services for children and young people

The first phase of the the review of mental health services for children and young people in England is complete and report has been published.   This review has been requested by the Prime Minister in January 2017.  The report confirms many of the issues raised in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health published in 2016 and in particular, comments on the difficulties children and young people face in accessing appropriate support for their mental health concerns from a system that is fragmented and where services vary in quality.

Key points are:

  • CQC has found that, whilst most specialist services provide good quality care, too many young people find it difficult to access services and so, do not receive the care that they need when they need it. 
  • CQC has rated 39% (26 services) of specialist community child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) as requires improvement and 2% (1 service) as inadequate against CQC’s ‘responsive’ key question, which looks at whether people access care and treatment in a timely way.
  • The problem of gaining access to specialist help is contributed to and compounded by the fact that those who work with children and young people (in schools, GP practices and A&E, for example) do not always have the skills or capacity to identify or support the mental health needs of children and young people.
  • When concerns are identified, children and young people, and their families, often struggle to navigate the complicated and fractured system of services created by a lack of joined-up working.

Speaking about the report, Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector (lead for Mental Health) said:

“This review has given CQC an important opportunity to not only consider the quality of care as found in our inspections, but also take a step back and look at the system as a whole.  The findings in CQC’s phase one report will inform the Government’s Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health, expected before the end of the calendar year.  By providing an assessment of the system, this report also lays the foundations for the next phase of CQC's review. Phase two will seek to identify where has there been real change in the system, where change has been slower and what was needed to drive better care. CQC will carry out fieldwork to observe care where appropriate, speak to staff and also commissioners. Following this, CQC will make full recommendations to encourage improvement in the mental health system for children and young when we publish our thematic review in March 2018."

More information about the review of mental health services for children and young people