An extra push to make mental health services safer for children and young people

There have been a number of big stories about the NHS in Wales recently – but when is the health service not a topic of conversation?

One story gave a real sense of hope: the call for action across nations to crack the problem of dementia.

And, amongst all of this, we published a joint follow up report on safety issues in child and adolescent mental health services. If you want to read the report in full you can find it here.

This review was undertaken with colleagues at Healthcare Inspectorate Wales. It followed up on four key problems that we found during a much bigger review that we undertook together back in 2009.

There were lots we could have followed up on but, given their importance, we focussed in on the issues which we identified were putting young people at risk.

Unfortunately, while steps have been taken, and improvements made, we still have concerns over all four issues. But, I’m an optimist, and further change will hopefully put the issues to bed.

Our reports do give things an extra push. And, I am looking forward to the response from the Welsh Government and health boards.

And, just to keep everyone’s eye on the ball; our findings are going to be considered by, not one, but two committees at the National Assembly for Wales.

As with all our national reports, the Public Accounts Committee – which is there to scrutinise Welsh Government – will consider our findings, along with what further action it thinks appropriate to deal with the issues raised.

In addition, the Children and Young People Committee will also be conducting an inquiry into child and adolescent mental health services in early 2014.

The attention of these committees can only help provide a further stimulus for change.

About the Author:

Steve Ashcroft

Following a varied career in the private sector and in Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, Steve Ashcroft has worked for the Wales Audit Office and its predecessor organisations since 1994.

In this time he has project managed a large number of performance audits mainly within the health and social care sector, and within mental health in particular.

Steve is now a manager within the national studies team with a broad range of projects across the public sector.

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