Commissioners receive £30 million to improve eating disorders services and child mental health

NHS England has distributed £30 million to clinical commissioning groups and tasked them with submitting plans to improve eating disorders services and boost child mental health

NHS England has distributed £30 million of funding to commissioners in a bid to improve eating disorders services and boost child mental health.

With the funding, England’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have been asked to submit local transformation plans to improve these services.

The aim is that by 2020, 95% of patients will be seen within four weeks, or one week for urgent cases.

The funding is the first stage of a new programme to improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. It will be used to improve community-based eating disorders (ED) services so patients are helped earlier and fewer patients need inpatient care.

NHS England national clinical director for long-term conditions Martin McShane said: ‘The number of children and young people with an eating disorder is on the rise.  It is right that the government has made this a priority and that we now have a clear waiting time standard.

‘It is clinically proven that patients recover most quickly when we treat them as early and as close to home as possible. By prioritising our focus on doing this, we can minimise the number of young people who end up needing more specialised inpatient care.’

In March this year, the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce published the report 'Future in Mind', which proposed a wide range of measures to transform services for children and young people. The taskforce favoured having a single, separately identifiable budget for children’s mental health services, and said there is a need to address the ambiguity in local authorities’ role and responsibilities in respect of child mental health commissioning.  

It also outlined the importance of developing new access and waiting time standards for EDs, and called for the development of a waiting time standard for early intervention in psychosis by April 2016.

NHS England has issued guidance to CCGs on submitting their local transformation plans to improve mental health care for children and young people, including how they will develop EDs services.

The guidance outlines the strategic direction, as well as what is required to secure sustainable improvements to access, resilience, governance and accountability.  

It also provides information on the assurance process and the support that is available to commissioners.
Allocations will be based on the assurance of detailed, locally agreed plans drawn up by commissioners in each area, and have been set in line with standard CCG allocation formula.  Plans will need to reflect local priorities, and the needs of the children and young people and their families in those areas.

NHS England national clinical director for children and young people Jacqueline Cornish said: ‘Unless we make real changes across the whole system, opportunities to build resilience, promote good mental health and intervene early when problems first arise, will continue to be missed and the opportunity to build a stronger youth for future generations lost.’

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