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Spending on mental health care for our children is among lowest in England

NHS spending in Kirkleees and Calderdale is less than almost everywhere else

Mental health resources for children in Kirklees and Calderdale are among the worst in the country, new figures suggest.

Health chiefs spend less on youngsters’ mental wellbeing in the two boroughs than in the majority of other places.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published the level of spending by each of the 209 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England in 2016/17.

The college identified three bands of spending – less than £35 per head, between £35 and £70, and more than £70.

Greater Huddersfield, North Kirklees and Calderdale are among just 33 CCGs who spent less than £35 per child.

They spent £32.49, £26.62 and £33.70 per head, respectively.

Over 84% of their fellow CCGs spent more on children and young people.

The data has also exposed the huge postcode lottery created by the CCG system with neighbouring Barnsley CCG among the top 14% of spenders, shelling out £86.77 per child.

Greater Huddersfield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group HQ at Broadlea House, Dyson Wood Way, Bradley(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

Meanwhile Tameside and Glossop, which borders Huddersfield, has the badge of shame as the lowest of all spenders, at just £9.69 per head.

In the past few years parents have told the Examiner of the shocking delays in getting for help for their children.

Mums and dads waiting for treatment by child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Kirklees have told of four year waits with youngsters waiting for diagnoses on the autism spectrum particularly hard hit.

Following the revelations in 2014 and 2015, Kirklees’ CAMHS amazingly declared its own service “not fit for purpose” and vowed to improve.

A spokesperson for the CCGs in Kirklees said: “Commissioners have been very aware of the historical lack of funding to support Children and Young People’s (CYP) mental health and wellbeing and, since 2015, have taken steps to transform CYP support services which are detailed in our annual CAMHS Transformation Plan.

“This has led to increased investment and staffing levels, and the development of newly commissioned services which are accessible across Kirklees.”

Prof Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “It is deeply worrying that money allocated for child and adolescent mental health services is not always reaching the frontline.

Prof Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists(Image: publicity picture)

“Helping a child to overcome mental illness will have a positive effect for the rest of their life.

“Early intervention also ensures further NHS savings down the line as fewer people return with untreated long-term mental health conditions as adults.

“We cannot continue to live in a society in which mental health services favour those living in certain parts of the country and continue to fail those living elsewhere.

“Our NHS will not withstand the long-term strain such a system places on its patients and its staff, particularly at a time when not enough medical students are opting to choose psychiatry and provide those much-needed services.”

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