MHNE Comment: Doctors tell parents to go private for children’s care

The Guardian reports that four in ten GPs are advising parents with children with mental health problems to go private because NHS services are overwhelmed. [Link to article]

In a recent survey, 43% of UK family doctors said that they had told parents whose children were struggling with anxiety, depression, self-harm or eating disorders  to seek treatment privately if they could afford it because NHS care is rationed and may involve 18-month delays.

Many GPs who took part in the research by charity stem4, criticised child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Some had described the care provided as “dire”, “extremely lacking”, “non-existent” and “totally, horrifically, grossly inadequate”; one GP said “seeing a psychiatrist is more difficult than seeing the Pope”
GPs’ advice to go private has prompted concern that it results in a two-tier system in which children from poorer families are denied any care and leaves parents who can pay the fees involved confused as to which private mental health professional is best placed to help.

NHS England said: “Actually, record numbers of children and young people are being treated for mental health conditions, waiting times are improving significantly and the NHS is ahead of its target to treat 70,000 more children every year by 2021.

So, who do you believe?