'Postcode lottery' on children's mental health revealed
The Liberal Democrats have proposed a new law that would require the Government to publish an annual report on children's mental health, including figures on local spending per area after uncovering a staggering postcode lottery on children's mental health services.
The figures given to the Children's Commissioner show that just £15.70 is spent per child in Halton under the NHS's Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), compared to £165.20 per head in the Isle of Wight. In total, 16 areas spent £50 or less per child.
The Private Members' Bill is being introduced by Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP in Parliament on Friday. The Bill would require the Government to report strict figures on waiting times for assessment, treatment and referrals, as well as a breakdown of where NHS money is being spent on children's mental health.
Ms Wilson challenged the Government over the huge variation in money spent per child on mental health, condemning Ministers for "short-changing" parents trying to access mental health support for their children.
"The legacy of this pandemic cannot be a severe mental health crisis that goes unchecked across vast swathes of this country. The Government must not allow this postcode lottery to continue.
"No parent should be stuck in the awful position of being unable to access mental health services for their child. It's high time we lend them a helping hand."