To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the average waiting time for children and adolescent mental health services in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting lists for children and adolescent mental health services in those areas.
No such estimate has been made as a national access and waiting times standard for child and adolescent mental health services has not yet been defined.
NHS England and NHS Improvement have consulted on the potential to introduce five new waiting time standards as part of its clinically led review of National Health Service access standards. This includes a standard for children, young people, and their families/carers presenting to community-based mental health services, should start to receive care within four weeks from referral. This consultation closed on 1 September 2021 and NHS England and NHS Improvement will publish a response in due course.
On 5 March 2021, we announced an additional £79 million in 2021/22 for children and young people’s mental health services, allowing approximately 22,500 more children and young people to access community health services, 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services and accelerating the coverage of mental health support teams in schools and colleges in England. We are also investing £2.3 billion a year in mental health services by 2023/24 to allow 345,000 more children and young people to access support. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also announced a further £40 million in 2021/22 to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young people’s mental health.