Just £46.77 per head is being spent on child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Southwark, new data from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) has revealed, writes Kirsty Purnell…
The RCP findings are based on data collected from local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s), the bodies responsible for commissioning health care services in a local area. The information is based on planned spending for 2016/7.
Southwark comes in at the bottom half for London, with Camden spending £121.30 per child and neighbouring Lambeth faring better at £64.46 per head. The worst performing borough was Enfield, at £2.33 per child.
Labour London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark, Florence Eshalomi has urged health bosses to reconsider their spending on child mental health. “Given that more than half of all adults with mental health problems develop them in childhood, it is vital that Southwark CCG urgently reconsider the level of investment they are making in our young people’s mental health,” she said.
The data emerges alongside a new report from The Education Policy Institute’s Independent Commission on Children and Young People’s Mental Health, Time to Deliver, that highlights concerns that child mental health budgets are not ring-fenced.
“The Government clearly aren’t ensuring their promised funding materialises across the NHS and that simply isn’t good enough,” said AM Eshalomi, “What we don’t want to see is money intended for treating young people’s mental health being used to plug gaps elsewhere.”
Southwark CCG has highlighted to the News that it spends £4m on commissioning specific children and young people’s specialist mental health services, which accounts for one per cent of its total 2016/17 £409,780,000 budget. It has also invested a further £695,000 in young people’s services during 2016/7.
A spokesman for NHS Southwark CCG said: ‘Like every other NHS organisation across the country, we strive to ensure that we commission the best possible services for patients of all ages with the funds we have available.
“To help us understand children and young people’s priorities for their mental health services, we have worked and engaged with them and their families through events and partner organisations to help us shape our spending plans. We have also invested further funding into services for patients with eating disorders.” The CCG highlighted that some general services which provide mental health care, such as health visitors and school nurses, are funded by Southwark Council. “We will review the data published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and we would be very happy to discuss the findings directly with Ms Eshalomi,” said the spokesman.