Hundreds of thousands of pounds invested into mental health support services
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 December 2018
A joint effort between two MPs has garnered an additional half-a-million pounds in funding for youth mental health services.
Children and teenagers in North Somerset will have better access to mental health support after MPs John Penrose and Dr Liam Fox urged the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG (BNSSG CCG) to invest more money in the struggling service.
The pair appealed for the funding after Mr Penrose noticed an alarming increase in the number of parents contacting him about long delays in getting mental health support.
They wrote a letter saying: “We are seeing an increasing number of parents in our surgeries struggling with securing services for their disabled children.
“Parents are trying to cope alone at home for long periods of time with children who are often violent to other family members and suicidal.”
Mr Penrose met with health chiefs at the BNSSG CCG and North Somerset Council repeatedly to push for action.
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission inspected the services, demanding improvements after finding ‘significant areas of weakness’.
Mr Penrose said: “It can be physically and emotionally exhausting for any family to cope with a child suffering from mental health problems. Getting specialist help early enough to prevent things from getting worse can make all the difference.
“This extra cash is a vital step for the hard-pressed families who’ve been visiting my surgery to discuss their problems.
“With any luck it will help hundreds of North Somerset’s children grow up living happier, healthier lives.”
A report from the Children’s Commissioner found almost two thirds of those in North Somerset referred for mental health diagnosis were sent away without treatment.
Julia Ross, in a letter, said the money will aim to ‘address both waiting times for access to mental health services and the assessments needed for Educational Health Plans’.
She added: “North Somerset Council and BNSSG Special Educational Needs Service have been inspected, and have been issued with a written statement of action. The CCG is working closely with the council to address the concerns raised in the inspection.”