Spending in Hastings and Rother on mental health services for children and young people is among the lowest in England, a new report has claimed.
Researchers from the Royal College of Psychiatrists have estimated the amount of money being spent per head by NHS commissioners on services for children and adolescents with mental health needs across England.
According to the report, commissioners in Hastings and Rother have allocated £11.07 per head on mental health services for the children and young people in their area for the whole of the 2016/17 financial year.
This includes spending on eating disorder services.
This equates to 1.28 percent of the Hastings and Rother CCG’s total mental health budget and places it in the bottom 25 CCGs in England.
However, Hastings and Rother CCG says it does not recognise the figures and says it is actually increasing its spending on child mental health services.
The government has pledged to invest in child and adolescent mental health services, with £119 million of NHS funding allocated to clinical commissioning groups for this financial year and another £140 million promised for 2017/18, with an additional £30 million for eating disorder services.
But it is up to local clinical commissioning groups to ensure money is passed to the front line based on their assessment of local need.
The president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Sir Simon Wessely said: “Our analysis shows that in many areas of the country, the proportion of money that CCGs are planning to spend on the mental health of our children and young people seems negligible.
“We urge commissioners to ensure that the extra money that they have received for these vitally needed services is passed on.
“We know the majority of new funding announced in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health will be given to CCGs to support delivery of Local Transformation Plans but it’s up to commissioners to decide on where to invest.
“We urge local people to ask commissioners to explain the thinking behind their decisions so that they can be confident that the mental health of their children and young people is getting the priority that it deserves.”
Chair of the RCPsych Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, Dr Peter Hindley added: “The college calls upon commissioners to revisit their planned spend in this vital yet chronically underfunded area.”
A spokesperson for the Hastings and Rother CCG said: “Improving mental health services for children and young people is a priority for Hastings and Rother CCG, which commissions an extensive range of services to meet the needs of our local population. Many of these services are jointly commissioned with the two other East Sussex CCGs and East Sussex County Council.
“We do not recognise the figures quoted in this report and are actually increasing our contribution into CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) by around 25 per cent following the findings in the Future in Mind report and outlined in our CAMHS Transformation Plan, which details our current spend on CAMHS and the additional investment the CCG has made.”
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