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Funding boost for children and young people’s mental health services a small step in right direction, says BPS

23 June 2021

We are pleased to see an additional £40m of funding announced to support young people’s mental health services but it is a small step in the context of a system under great strain.

Announced by NHS England, the funding will see extra beds at units which provide care for young people with the most complex needs, including eating disorders and more support services and facilities for children under 13.

There will also be 96 associate practitioner psychologists trained to practice under close supervision with those who have complex and severe mental health conditions, to provide care both in hospital and within the home.

Diane Ashby, deputy chief executive of the BPS, said:

“This funding, which will be delivered over the next three years, is a welcome step however there is still a long way to go to ensure the services and resources, including the workforce, are there to ensure all children and young people can access the help they need. Due to consistent cuts over the last ten years early intervention services have been eroded and the pandemic has worsened a system that was already under great strain."

“With the introduction of new roles, such as the associate practitioner psychologists, there needs to be more detail provided about how these roles will work in practice and how they fit within the already complex structures of the NHS. There also needs to be appropriate provision of placements and supervision. It is not simply enough to create new roles without these considerations being made."

“There also needs to be consideration given to where people will be recruited from for these roles, for example from graduates or non-graduates, or the retraining of existing staff, and how the ongoing issues across the NHS including retention, burnout and career progression will be addressed.”

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