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NAO report on Improving Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services.

The National Audit Office has released a report on improvements to children and young people’s mental health services.
In March 2015, the Government set out its vision for children and young people’s mental health services in Future in Mind.

The NAO report released on 9th October 2018 examines whether the government is on track to meet its ambitions for children and young people’s services, taking Future in Mind as the starting point. With a particular focus on how the government decided to implement Future in Mind; whether it is on track to deliver improved mental health services to young people; and accountability for spending and outcomes.

Full report here

Report conclusions

The government has laudable ambitions to improve mental health services for children and young people. It started from a very low base when it developed its strategy and has prioritised improvement programmes which take an important, if modest, step towards achieving its aspirations. The government has not yet set out or costed what it must do to realise these aspirations in full and there remains limited visibility of activity and spending outside the health sector. While the NHS has worked to improve information on its activity and spending, significant data weaknesses are hampering its understanding of progress. Slow progress on workforce expansion to deliver NHS services is also emerging as a major risk to delivery.

The government must now ensure a coherent and coordinated cross-sector response, and that the right levers are in place to ensure local actions deliver the national ambitions. It has started to tackle issues of parity of esteem between physical and mental health services for children and young people, but it still has a long way to go, particularly as demand may be higher than originally thought, and an increased focus on mental health may uncover greater demand. Given these weaknesses and uncertainties, we conclude that the government cannot demonstrate that it has yet delivered value for money. accessed 17.10.18 

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17 October 2018


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