The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published today its Review of children and young people's mental health services. The report highlights that young people are facing long waiting times and unequal access to mental health services. Beat’s Director of External Affairs Tom Quinn commented on the report’s findings:
“The findings of the CQC report published today confirming children and young people are still waiting too long to access mental health services are worrying.
“Eating disorders are serious, complex mental illnesses and early intervention is key to recovery. All evidence tells us the sooner someone with an eating disorder gets the treatment they need, the more likely they are to make a full and sustained recovery. And for this reason, more work must be done at a national and local level to ensure children and young people, irrespective of where they live, are able to access fast treatment. Too often we hear from our service users of varying experiences in different parts of the country. This postcode lottery must end.
“The fact that too many children are blocked from accessing timely and effective support puts their chances of recovery and ultimately their life at risk.
“We will not stop until strategies are in place at a national and local level to ensure waiting time figures improve year on year.
“We recognise the Government is taking steps to improve eating disorder services for children and young people and we support the introduction of the Access & Waiting Times Standard for Children and Young People in England. But the same priority must be given to those over the age of 18 to access treatment quickly. Turning 18, doesn’t result pushing an ‘off button’ for eating disorders, and so we must see equivalent targets established across all age groups.
“Equally we campaign to ensure all GPs are able to refer eating disorders sufferers to treatment without delay. Earlier this week we presented a petition to the Department of Health with over 9,000 signatures to ask Government to make sure all GPs are able to properly diagnose the psychological and behavioural symptoms of eating disorders, so they can refer immediately. Faster access to treatment also requires faster referrals from primary care.”