Improvement plan as children wait 35 weeks for treatment

editorial image

Vulnerable young people are being left at risk as facing waiting times of more than six months for help with mental health problems.

Young people with problems like eating disorders, depression and or severe anxiety have been waiting an average of 243 days - or 35 weeks - for help.

More than 400 people were on the waiting list for treatment from the Kirklees Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the first three months of this year.

NHS bosses are carrying out an overhaul of mental health services to make sure they are treated with equal importance as of physical health problems.

They admitted young people had been waiting too long for treatment after waiting time figures emerged in a report to Kirklees Health and Wellbeing board.

More than £1m has been invested to improve the service.

Nette Carder, interim district director for CAMHS at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, provider of the CAMHS Tier 3 Service, said: “Access to CAMHS is an issue in trusts across the country and unfortunately, our trust is no exception.

“However, we are working hard to address these issues.”

The report shows that young people were also facing long waits for help from the Children’s Emotional Wellbeing Service (CHEWS).

From April 2014 to March 2015 the average wait for help with problems including bereavement, eating difficulties, domestic violence and self-harm was 13 weeks.

The report said: “This is telling us that young people needing emotional support for the sorts of issues listed above can be waiting up to three months for support.”

Referring to CAMHS, it said: “Those young people needing more intense mental health services after they have been assessed are waiting over six months.”

While young people wait for help, “long term-damage” would be caused.

Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Paula Sherriff, who is on the government’s health select committee, said: “I have seen and heard of a worryingly high number of constituents who are having difficulty accessing CAMHS in the area.

“Waiting times of over 12 months for treatment are simply not acceptable and the impact this is having on our young people is very concerning.”