Responding to the Public Accounts Committee report into children and young people’s mental health services, Fiona Smith, RCN Professional Lead for Children and Young People said:
“When it comes to addressing the rising demand for children and young people’s mental health support, the Government hasn’t matched rhetoric with reality.
“Since the RCN gave evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, we’ve seen the NHS Long Term Plan lay out an ambitious vision of mental healthcare in England and this report confirms that unless things change considerably, it will be many years until children and young people get the treatment they need and deserve.
“The biggest obstacle to improvement is the workforce crisis in nursing. Staff shortages stop healthcare professionals intervening early and providing services when young people are in crisis. Without enough school nurses, plans to prevent worsening mental health in schools will struggle, and without adequate mental health, learning disabilities and children’s nurses, children will wait longer for the care they need.
“Another barrier to meaningful change for children and young people’s mental health services is the significant data weaknesses we explained to the Committee that inhibits the NHS’s ability to plan and deliver services.
“NHS England and the Government must urgently address these chronic shortages to brighten horizons for children and young people with mental health problems. We must enshrine safe staffing in legislation to hold employers accountable, and invest in developing nurses’ specialisms and skills.
- In October 2018, RCN Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair gave oral evidence to the Public Accounts Committee - https://journals.rcni.com/nursing-children-and-young-people/news/children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-nursing-faces-perfect-storm-mps-hear-ncyp.30.6.7.s6/full