Government response to child mental health care report 'woefully inadequate', parent says

A teenage girl in a park showing signs of mental health issues (stock picture) Credit: PA

A parent has described the government's response to a report on child mental health care as "woefully inadequate".

The report by the Health and Social Care committee made 25 recommendations for how treatment for child mental health patients could be improved, including suggesting a ban on the use of "prone restraints" on young people.

But - despite a three month wait for a response - the government hasn't made a decision on 11 of the recommendations.

One mother, who is from the Midlands, said: "The Government are completely underestimating the impact children’s mental health has on society."

Her concerns have been echoed by the leader of the health and social care select committee, Jeremy Hunt MP, who said he would write to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

In a statement, Mr Hunt, himself a former Health Secretary, said: "I have written to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid to say this is unacceptable and asking for a clear indication of whether the Government intends to accept or reject what we are calling for.

This includes a ban on the continued use of prone restraint on children and young people despite guidance stating that prone restraint should be avoided due to the increased risk of death from this position.

"I consider it disrespectful not only to the Committee but more importantly to the witnesses who spoke to us often about very difficult personal experiences.”

One mother's story

One mother from the Midlands has spoken to ITV News Central previously about her experiences with mental health care for her young son.

Today, the long awaited response to this report has left her bitterly disappointed.

"From my own experience, my son experienced a mental health breakdown aged seven as a result of him not having the requisite support.

"That has led to issues with my own mental health and now issues with my youngest's mental health - all of which costs more money and resources than it would have done had my son had the support needed early enough.

"Failing to adequately deal with children’s mental health at an early stage has catastrophic effects going into adulthood for that child/adult, family around them and in terms of the money and resources needed."

She added: "Children’s mental health is clearly not a priority for this government. They are completely out of touch with the realities of endless fighting the system for support that never comes."

What will happen next?

Jeremy Hunt has written a letter to the Health Secretary.

"Having waited more than three months for a response, we do not think it is acceptable to be told that the Department is still considering our recommendations," he wrote.

He also wrote to Bernard Jenkin MP, who is responsible for monitoring the work of multiple select committees in the House of Commons.

"I would be interested to know whether this phenomenon of responding by saying that theDepartment is “considering” the recommendation is more widespread," he said.


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