Norman Lamb calls for investment in young people's mental health after A&E admissions double

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk and the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health, has called for the Government to stick to its commitment of extra investment in children and young people’s mental health services after it was revealed that the number of young people admitted to A&E as a result of a psychiatric condition more than doubled over the last five years.

In response to a parliamentary question tabled by Norman, the Government confirmed that a total of 14,917 people aged 18 and under who were admitted to A&E with a recorded first diagnosis of a psychiatric condition in 2014/15, compared to only 6,950 in 2010/11 – an increase of 115% over the period. Meanwhile, the number of young people admitted for intentional self-harm also increased from 13,504 to more than 17,000.

During the Coalition Government, the Liberal Democrats secured £1.25bn of new funding to transform children and young people’s mental health services. This amounts to around £250 million in every year of the current parliament – but the Government has allocated only £143 million in this financial year (2015/16). 

Norman is currently leading a commission, set up by the think tank CentreForum, looking at how to improve the mental health services available to children and young people.

“These are deeply shocking figures which expose the true scale of the mental health challenge facing young people in this country,” said Norman Lamb.

“The Government is failing to support children and young people by not delivering the investment that was agreed before the General Election. In March 2015, Nick Clegg and I announced £1.25 billion to be spent over five years on improving young people’s mental health services, but the Government has already underspent by £107 million in the first year. 

“This is unacceptable, and these latest figures show the need for urgent investment in preventative services and community care to stop young people from reaching crisis point. It also shows the absolute need to introduce the same right to get treatment on a timely basis for children and young people suffering mental ill health as others enjoy.  I am calling on the Government to make up the shortfall immediately, and to deliver on its promise to provide the full £1.25bn over the next five years.”

 

Norman's parliamentary question and the Government's response is copied in full below.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many people aged 18 and under were admitted to A&E for (a) deliberate self-harm and (b) psychiatric conditions in England in each of the last five years.

Alistair Burt (Minister for Communities and Social Care): While data on the number of people attending accident and emergency (A&E) departments is not collected centrally, the table does provide a number of A&E attendances for patients aged under 18 with a recorded first diagnosis of psychiatric conditions, those where the recorded patient group is 'intentional self-harm' and those where both criteria appear from 2010-11 to 2014-15.

Criteria

Year

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

Diagnosis - Psychiatric Conditions

6,950

8,930

10,853

13,989

14,917

Patient Group - Intentional Self Harm

13,504

13,730

13,859

17,486

17,019

Attendances where both the above codes were recorded

1,098

1,340

1,687

2,205

2,313

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