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54% of children aged 11-18 turned away by CAMHS, say GPs

Teenage mental health charity's survey reveals that more than half of UK children aged 11-18 referred to mental health services by GPs are turned away
Picture shows a young female in a consultation with a GP. Half of teens referred to mental health services by GPs are turned away due to strict eligibility criteria, a survey shows.

Teenage mental health charity's survey reveals that more than half of UK children aged 11-18 referred to mental health services by GPs are turned away

More than half of potential patients are being turned away by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) due to strict eligibility criteria, according to a survey of GPs by teenage mental health charity stem4 .

The survey of 994 GPs in the UK showed 54% of young people aged 11-18 they had referred to CAMHS, had been rejected.

The findings prompted the RCN to call for greater investment in school nursing, but

Teenage mental health charity's survey reveals that more than half of UK children aged 11-18 referred to mental health services by GPs are turned away

Picture shows a young female in a consultation with a GP. Half of teens referred to mental health services by GPs are turned away due to strict eligibility criteria, a survey shows.
Picture: iStock

More than half of potential patients are being turned away by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) due to strict eligibility criteria, according to a survey of GPs by teenage mental health charity stem4.

The survey of 994 GPs in the UK showed 54% of young people aged 11-18 they had referred to CAMHS, had been rejected.

The findings prompted the RCN to call for greater investment in school nursing, but an NHS England spokesperson said: ‘Record numbers of children and young people are being treated for mental health conditions, waiting times are improving significantly and the NHS is ahead of its target to treat 70,000 more children every year by 2021, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.’

RCN calls for increase in number of school nurses

If CAMHS refuses to accept a child for treatment they are referred to counselling either at school or in the community as an alternative, according to survey responses by 45% of the GPs. Most of the doctors surveyed said local services were overwhelmed by demand.

In a separate survey (made at the same time by stem4) of 1,000 parents, almost half said they would seek help from a nurse if their child was experiencing mental health difficulties.

RCN professional lead for children and young people’s nursing Fiona Smith said the government should increase the number of school nurses in England to improve on early intervention.

‘Then those children who need to be seen by CAMHS would be seen by CAMHS,’ she said.

According to the RCN, schools nurse numbers fell from 3,026 to 2,553 between 2010 and 2017.

NHS England did not respond to a request for a comment on the RCN’s call to increase greater funding for more school nurses. The UK-wide surveys were carried out in December.


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