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Young people face five month waiting lists for mental health support

PUBLISHED: 17:18 07 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:18 07 February 2020

Children and young people with mental health issues are waiting up to five months for treatment in parts of Norfolk and Suffolk. Photo: NSFT

Children and young people with mental health issues are waiting up to five months for treatment in parts of Norfolk and Suffolk. Photo: NSFT

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Children and young people with mental health issues are waiting up to five months for treatment in parts of Norfolk and Suffolk.

Adolescents with mental health conditions in Great Yarmouth and Waveney are facing waiting lists for mental health support ranging from a week to access urgent treatment and up to five months to receive long-term care.

The figures came to light at a health scrutiny meeting where representatives from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) county's mental health service outlined the issues facing the young people's services.

READ MORE: 'Groundhog Day' - MP criticises mental health service limbo as trust kept in special measures

Children and teenagers in need of support have to wait:

- Four weeks for a mental health assessment

- A week to receive urgent care following a referral

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- And up to five months for specialist or longer-term care.

In the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection, NSFT was rated requires improvement - a step up from the previous rating of inadequate.

But the only area to remain inadequate - the lowest possible ranking - was the specialist community mental health service for children and young people.

READ MORE: 'The deterioration can be insane' - youngsters waiting too long for eating disorder treatment

During the meeting of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney joint health scrutiny committee, on Friday, February 7, Emma Flaxman-Taylor, from Great Yarmouth Council, said: "A lot of young people go to their GP when they don't know what help they need. A young guy came to see me and he had been to his doctor and was given a pamphlet which he was told to go home and read."

Speaking after the meeting, she added: "We've not got enough doctors and appointments are very hard to come by. 18-year-olds who have mental health issues don't know what help they need."

Rob Mack, NSFT service manager for child, family and young people's mental health, said: "We are working with our colleagues and partners in the CCGs, and other agencies, on quality improvement initiatives, improving access and reducing waiting times. Transformation will play an enormous part in 2020 and this will build closer working relationships with alliance partners in Norfolk and Suffolk.

"Integral in all of this is the confidence and support of the children, young people and families. We are committed to working together to develop clinical pathways, share learning and enable quality improvements to happen at pace."

READ MORE: 'It destroys lives' - Teen's dismay at 18-month mental health delay

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