MHNE condemns rise in young people treated on adult mental health wards

New official figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that more children and young people were treated on adult mental health wardsin the first eight months of 2013/14 than the whole of the previous year

Under the Mental Health Act (2007) adult mental health wards are deemed to be inappropriate settings for treating under-18s, and young people aged 16 and 17 are only meant to be treated in adult wards in exceptional circumstances. These increases have happened despite promises in recent years from a succession of Government spokesmen promising to end their use for children and young people.

Lyn Boyd, Mental Health North East CEO said: "These figures tally with what we have been hearing from the young people that we work with. Young people are still being placed in adult mental health wards despite the legislation clearly stating that this is not an appropriate setting for vulnerable children with mental health problems. MHNE calls upon the government to take urgent action to reverse this trend and improve early intervention services."

[UPDATE 03/04/14]

Since publishing we have discussed this with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) and we'd like to post their explanatory comments here:

Unfortunately there was a problem with the data TEWV submitted to the HSCIC and the figures quoted in the provisional report do not accurately reflect the number of admissions.

During the first eight months of 2013/14 TEWV admitted six children to an adult ward and none of these young people were under 16 years old. These numbers have decreased over recent years.

The Trust does its best to admit young people to specialist children’s wards and in the small number of cases where this isn’t possible there are clear policies and designated adult wards so that the young people get the care and support they need.