The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has welcomed the launch of a new NHS taskforce to deal with the ‘unacceptable situation’ in care for young people with mental health issues, learning disabilities and autism.
Mind released research earlier this year, which found that one in seven young people reported that their mental health was either poor or very poor. This research highlighted the need for improvements in mental healthcare services and the new NHS taskforce is aimed at implementing these improvements.
Ann Norman, RCN Professional Lead for Learning Disabilities and Criminal Justice Nursing, commented on the current state of mental healthcare in young people, saying: ‘When children and young people are unnecessarily admitted to secure hospitals, then the system is letting down the very people that need protecting the most. Investment in community services, especially in the nurses that work in that area, will be essential in ensuring that vulnerable patients are able to be cared for near their homes and closer to their loved ones’.
She also commented that ‘the Royal College of Nursing is well placed to contribute to developing the modern plans that can support young people who are currently within inpatient mental health, autism and learning disability services’.
The taskforce has been created in order to work towards goals outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan. Part of this plan is to provide £2.3 billion in funding for community mental health services and to improve care for young people and adults suffering from mental illness, according to an announcement by the NHS earlier this year.
‘This taskforce will place a spotlight on services and care for some of the most vulnerable young people in our society, bringing together families, leading clinicians, charities, and other public bodies to help make these services as effective, safe and supportive as possible for thousands of families,’ said Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive.