NHS England has distributed £30m of funding to improve eating disorder services aiming to achieve 95 per cent of patients being seen within four weeks or one week for urgent cases by 2020.
The funding is the first stage of a new programme to improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and will be used to improve community based eating disorder (ED) services so patients are helped earlier and fewer need in-patient care.
The funding will be recurrent for five years as part of the Autumn statement announcement in 2014, and in addition to the £1.25bn pledged in the March 2015 budget for CAMHS which is also over the next five years.
Dr Martin McShane, National Clinical Director for Long Term Conditions at NHS England, said: “The number of children and young people with an eating disorder is on the rise and it is right that the Government has made this a priority and that we now have a clear waiting time standard.
“It is clinically proven that patients recover most quickly when we treat them as early and as close to home as possible. By prioritising our focus on doing this we can minimise the number of young people who end up needing more specialised in-patient care.”
NHS England has issued guidance to CCGs on submitting their Local Transformation Plans (LTPs) to improve mental health care for children and young people, including how they will develop eating disorder services.
- Local Transformation Plans for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing: Guidance and support for local areas
- Access and Waiting Time Standard for Children and Young People with an Eating Disorder: Commissioning Guide
This year NHS England will spend an extra £133m on improving children and young people’s mental health, in addition to current local CAMHS budgets and the £30m for ED. A further £9m will be spent by Health Education England.
£75m will go to CCGs to improve local services. They will work up their plans with local authorities schools and children, young people and their families, for review and funding in the Autumn.
£58m will fund expansion of the CYP IAPT programme, improvements to perinatal mental health care, investment in inpatient services for children and young people, build workforce capability, and support innovation and development of online support. £2.5m of this will support the mental health needs of children with learning disabilities and those in the youth justice system.
Dr Jacqueline Cornish, NHS England National Clinical Director for Children and Young People, said: “We are on the brink of a new dawn for young people’s mental health and these are the first steps towards a new and more secure place with a brighter and more hopeful future.
“It is absolutely apparent, and something endorsed by young people themselves, that more of the same is simply not an option.
“Unless we make real changes across the whole system, opportunities to build resilience promote good mental health and intervene early when problems first arise, will continue to be missed and the opportunity to build a stronger youth for future generations lost.”
Access and Waiting Time Standard for Children and Young People with an Eating Disorder is the first to be developed and will be introduced as the data becomes more reliable; this is in line with the ambitions set out in Future in Mind.
This standard is part of a major service transformation to reshape the way mental health services are commissioned and delivered to ensure children and young people access high-quality care and support where and when they need it.
Future in Mind, the taskforce report published in March 2015, proposed a wide range of measures to transform services for children and young people.
The report built on the vision set out in Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020 and the Five Year Forward View.
The guidance outlines the strategic direction as well as what is required to secure sustainable improvements to access, resilience, governance and accountability.
It also provides information on the assurance process and the support that is available to commissioners.
Allocations will be based on the assurance of detailed, locally agreed plans drawn up by commissioners in each area and have been set in line with standard CCG allocation formula. Plans will need to reflect local priorities and the needs of the children and young people and their families in those areas.