The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham asked a question on the length of waiting times for Children’s Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for children in care on 5th December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham: To ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the length of the waiting times for children and young people in care who need to access the support of Children’s Adolescent Mental Health Services; and what steps they are taking to reduce those waiting times.
Lord Markham (Con): We do not have a national waiting time standard for these services, so this data is not available. However, increasing access to these services is a priority.
We are expanding mental health services through the NHS long-term plan. Funding for mental health services will increase by at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023-24 so that an additional 345,000 children and young people, including those in care, can access NHS-funded mental health support.
The Lord Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham: I thank the Minister for his Answer and declare an interest as a foster carer of more than 10 years. In my diocese, in Nottingham city and Nottinghamshire, 1,040 children and young people waited more than 12 weeks between referral and second contact last year. Surely, those delays are unacceptable. Does he agree with the president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, Steve Crocker, that His Majesty’s Government need urgently to undertake a full review of children’s mental health services to ensure they are able to meet the growing demand we have seen placed on them, especially for looked-after children, who are four times more likely to experience mental health issues than their peers?
Lord Markham: I have some personal experience in this area, so I agree that we need to see people as quickly as possible. On the investigation, we have recently undertaken a call for evidence, which closed in July with 5,000 responses that we are going through. I think that our response to that will answer many of the questions, but I would be happy to meet the right reverend Prelate and discuss this further when we have those results.