Number of NHS psychiatrists treating children falling

NHS workforce statistics have revealed a decline in the number of NHS psychiatrists treating troubled children and young people.

Despite an increase in demand among under-18s who need urgent mental health care, the number of full-time equivalent psychiatrists working in child and adolescent mental health services fell in England to 942 in July.

With Prime Minister Theresa May and leading NHS chiefs pledging to expand and improve the mental healthcare under-18s receive, and to put more funding into it, the latest figure is the second lowest number on record since NHS Digital began keeping records in 2009.

Barbara Keeley, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, said: “These figures are a severe blow to the government’s plans for children and young people’s mental health, which will come to nothing unless the NHS trains and recruits more child psychiatrists.

“Children in need of mental health services are being turned away in their droves despite showing evidence of self-harm, while many have to wait six months for treatment to start – all because of a shortage of key clinical staff.”

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