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13.06.16

NHS local plans failing to address mental health of abused children

Abused children’s risk of developing mental health problems is being overlooked by CCGs, children’s charity the NSPCC has warned.

In a new report, the charity estimated that just 14% of CCG Local Transformation Plans contained an assessment of the needs of abused children.

One third of plans, covering 3.89 million children, contained no recognition that children who have been abused or neglected have a very high risk of mental health issues, or no mention of provision of services for abused children.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “These plans determine how money is spent locally. So it's vital they include services for children who've suffered abuse and neglect, as this one of the biggest causes behind them developing mental health problems.”

He called it “remarkable” that the government does not have clear data on how many children are being abused and what mental health needs they have, and said that the gap had “devastating consequences”. He called on the government to conduct research to find out the number.

A Department of Health spokesperson said that the government had committed £1.4bn to children’s mental health services and NHS England “was responsible” for seeing that it was spent properly.

However, the report said that it was unlikely that this money would be enough to cover the severe shortfalls in children’s mental health care, with 28% of those referred to child and adolescent mental health services being turned away.

A recent report by the Centre for Mental Health found children have to wait an average of ten years to receive mental health treatment.

It said that good local transformation plans should contain clear and transparent information about gaps in current services, and plans for preventative care before mental health problems reach crisis point.

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