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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The postcode lottery strikes again

The Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Wales Audit Office, Estyn, and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales have today published a worrying report on the state of Mental Health services for children and young people in Wales. This is the first time that all four bodies have come together for a service review, which highlights the seriousness of the failings in the service provision.

Although acknowledging recent improvements including the introduction of primary mental health workers who support professionals, such as GPs and school nurses working with children and young people, the report also brings to light those areas in dire need of improvement - especially stressing the variation across Wales in the availability and quality of services. Unfortunately we know all too well that a postcode lottery is a common problem across the board of service provision.

The report also found that Wales is the only place in the UK with no specialist mental health services for children under age five. Why is Wales lagging behind the rest of the UK again?

The Health Minister responded that the findings are "out of date" and "do not reflect wider improvements". However, despite the improvements already made, it is clear that there is a long way to go in improving services for children and young people suffering with mental health conditions. It is time that we stop failing and start helping the young vulnerable children whose lives could be dramatically improved by an early intervention. Let me know your thoughts on the findings.

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