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Mental health unit for children gets the green light

Mental health unit for children gets the green light

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 12:22pm 31st March 2017. (Updated at 2:27pm 31st March 2017)

A mental health unit for children and young people in Cornwall has been given the green light.

Cornish charity the Invictus Trust has been campaigning for one for six years after Ben Cowburn died at Longreach House in Redruth.

Now it has been revealed that a 12-bed unit for under 18's will be built in the Duchy.

It means youngsters can be treated in the Duchy and much closer to home.

NHs England has committed £5 million to build the centre and it is expected to take two years to complete.

A spokesperson for the Invictus Trust said: "Whilst there is a long way to go yet until we really bring back our children, we are over the moon that we have finally got the announcement we have been fighting SO hard for!!! This is a monumental day for us!!!

"The Invictus Trust will take every opportunity to make sure this unit is innovative and well-resourced to effectively care for young people with serious mental health issues, and contribute wherever we can. In the meantime, we will continue to support the parents and families of young people being cared for out of county through our Anchor Fund.

"On behalf of all the trustees, please accept our sincerest thanks for all of your support over the past few years!"

The initiative delivers on NHS England's commitment to reduce out of area placements for children and young people by increasing bed numbers nationally by 10%.

Phil Confue, Chief Executive of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said, "Today's announcement is fantastic news for children and families locally.

"We are absolutely delighted to have been given the go ahead for this unit which will provide a much needed service to some of our most vulnerable young people.

"Previously children from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly had to travel out of county for this kind of service but this new unit will enable us to deliver care much closer to home. The ability to regularly see family and friends while in hospital is a key element in people's recovery, and especially in the case of children."

The Trust will build the new unit on land adjacent to Bodmin Hospital where it will benefit from close links to the Trust's other specialist mental and physical health services.

It is hoped that building work will begin in Spring 2018.

In determining the location of the new facility, the Trust's existing services and accessibility have been taken into consideration.


150 to 180 new beds are being funded in total across the country.

The increase will be focused on those who are most unwell, be dependent on need and placed in under-served parts of the country.

It remains an NHS priority to stop children and young people reaching crisis point by diagnosing and treating them at the earliest opportunity and the number receiving treatment has increased by 20,000 over the last three years.

A programme of work is underway to improve timely treatments in the community for those needing urgent or emergency assessment to reduce the number of hospital admissions, with an expected increase of 35,000 treated through community services next year compared with 2014/15, with an extra 49,000 in two years.

Alongside this there are 67 newly established community eating disorders services being developed and recruitment to get the teams up to full capacity is well under way. This means at least 3,350 children and young people a year will receive swift, effective eating disorder treatment in the community - for many this will mean they will be treated earlier and no longer need to go into hospital.

While this work ramps up, the introduction of the new beds for children and young people will reduce the need to travel long distances for specialist inpatient care, rebalancing beds from parts of the country where the local CAMHS can reduce inpatient use.

Claire Murdoch, National Director for Mental Health at NHS England, said: "We are committed to ending the need for children and young people travelling long distances for the right care. By increasing the availability of services in the community and ensuring the right beds are in the right place, we aim to ensure that those who need it will be able to receive the best care and treatment at home or as close to home as possible.

"Around 120,000 more people are now getting the mental health care they need than three years ago. I believe we now have the biggest programme for talking therapies in the world, with more people receiving treatment than ever before. There will be more support for adults with expanded new crisis resolution home treatment teams, mental health professionals in GP practices and A&Es, and increased transparency on spending and performance with the new dashboard for mental health.

"Over the last year we have made some huge strides forward to ensure mental and physical health are on an equal footing, but there is much more work to do and we won't rest on our laurels and we will continue to drive further improvements to ensure the right care is available across the country at the right time."

Chief Executive of Mind, Paul Farmer said: "We're a year into the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, so it's still early days, but we are pleased to see various agencies and Government working together to try to improve the care people with mental health problems experience. Mental health services have been chronically underfunded for years and still get a raw deal when it comes to funding, yet demand is increasing. That's why it's so important that we urgently invest in quality mental health services.

"We welcome the additional funding being made available for extra beds for young people in crisis. When you're experiencing a mental health crisis, you're likely to feel scared, vulnerable and alone, so your support network of family and friends are instrumental to recovery. Being far from home can negatively impact on an individual's mental health and can increase the risk of someone taking their own lives."

Chief Executive of YoungMinds, Sarah Brennan said: "We welcome the progress being made towards ending inappropriate out of area care. For young people who are hospitalised, being separated from loved ones doesn't help with recovery and makes a frightening situation even worse. It's also extremely distressing for parents who can't easily visit their child because of long travel distances.

"While progress is being made, there is still a long way to go. It's crucial that there are continued improvements not only to inpatient care, but also to community services that help prevent young people becoming so ill that they need to be hospitalised."

President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Simon Wessely said: "This is a leap in the right direction for the future of mental health provision in this country especially in regards to ending out of area placements for children and young people facing mental health crisis. We know that we can only provide adequate care for children and young people with beds and well-trained staff.

"Recent figures show a 10% drop in child and adolescent psychiatrists, so we welcome proactive steps to address this. It is vital that a concerted effort is required to attract the best and the brightest into mental health services - from nurses, to therapists, to specialised psychiatrists. Just as you would expect a specialised medical professional if you needed cancer or heart treatment, you must also expect to receive specialised medical treatment for serious mental disorders."

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