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Some children waiting for over a year for mental health assessment in Telford

By Alex Moore | Health | Published:

Seventy-five children in Telford and Wrekin have waited a year for a complete mental health assessment, and some are still waiting after two, an NHS executive has said.

Former Princess Royal Hospital chief executive David Sandbach said those children were being let down when he asked the borough’s CCG governance board about the issue.

Executive commissioning lead Fran Beck said they were working to reduce assessment times for all 323 young patients currently waiting and prioritising those who had waited longest.

Christine Morris, the Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group’s executive nurse, added that many children’s assessments were already part completed, and some were just waiting for the “final stop”.

Mr Sandbach, who ran Telford’s PRH until 2000, asked: “Do we know how long those children have waited, on average?”

Mrs Beck said: “We know the waits of all those children. I can’t answer the specific question about the average, but we know there are a number of children who have waited for two years.

“These are children who are specifically waiting for assessments for autism. It’s not all of our mental health children.”

Mr Sandbach said: “So we’re only letting down the autistic children, then?”

Gaps

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Mrs Beck continued: “Many children have waited too long, we know that.

“The reality is, whatever we do to manage this particular cohort of children, it’s going to be months because there are gaps in capacity.

“We know 75 of the children have waited for one year, and our priority is going to be dealing with those, because they have waited the longest.

“The nature of the assessment is quite complicated because each child needs school assessments and feedback from families. We need to compile a lot of information.”

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Mrs Morris added that “a large number of those children” have started but not finished their assessments.

“Some of them are just waiting for the final stop on the process,” she added.

Mr Sandbach was referring to the minutes of last month’s CCG Planning, Performance and Quality Committee meeting.

This document, included in the board’s papers, said: “Discussion took place with regard to the mental health trust and gaps in the neurodevelopment pathway.

“There are currently 329 children on the pathway to be assessed and diagnosed, and urgent steps needed to be taken to address this which was being done.”

Mrs Beck updated this figure to 323, but nonetheless admitted it was big.

Alex Moore

By Alex Moore
@TelfordLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Telford.

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