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Mental Health

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children had mental disorders severe enough to require treatment in each year since 1996. (89400)

The information requested is not collected centrally. In a 2004 follow-up survey of children and adolescents by the Office for National Statistics (Mental Health of Children and Young People in Great Britain, ONS August 2005), it was found that 10 per cent. of 5 to 16-year-olds in Great Britain had a clinically diagnosed mental disorder. No change in the overall prevalence of mental disorders was found when compared to the original survey in 1999.

The prevalence rates for individual disorders are shown in the report, which is available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time to see a child psychiatrist was in each year since 1999; and how many in-patient beds there were for young psychiatric patients in each year. (89401)

The information requested is not collected centrally. The most recent available information on waiting times is from the 2005 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) mapping exercise. In November 2005, there were 26,207 cases waiting to be seen by specialist CAMHS in England, a reduction of 2,674 from the previous year.

52 per cent. of new cases were seen by specialist CAMHS within four weeks, an additional 33 per cent. within 13 weeks, and a further 10 per cent. within 26 weeks. 5 per cent. of cases waited over 26 weeks to be seen by specialist CAMHS.

The mapping exercise also collects information on the number of beds commissioned for Tier 4 in-patient care. The number of commissioned beds has increased by 4 per cent. from 651 reported in 2003 to 665 in 2004 and 680 in 2005.

The Department is committed to ensuring that comprehensive CAMHS are available to all who need them. Our vision is set out in the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services, published in September 2004, which is available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to implement the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on entitlement to psychological therapy. (92105)

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidelines on the treatment of depression and anxiety in December 2004. The guidance is available on the website www.nice.org.uk. NICE gave emphatic support to making evidence-based psychological therapies available as an adjunct or alternative to drug treatments for the treatment of mild to moderate depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. The Department of Health has taken the following actions to help implement the NICE guidelines:

included psychological therapies alongside drug treatments in the “National Service Framework for Mental Health” (1999) to show they are just as important as drug treatments, and sometimes preferred by service users;

published an evidence-based guideline “Treatment Choice in Psychological Therapies and Counselling” in 2001 to help GPs and professionals know more about the most effective treatments for particular conditions;

published the booklet “Choosing Talking Treatments” in 2001 for service users and carers to help them know the questions to ask when seeking psychological therapies or counselling;

published the practical guidance “Organising and Delivering Psychological Therapies” in July 2004 to help local services understand what best practice should involve. It contains recommendations for how to deliver:

acceptable, user-friendly services which involve users and carers, provide information and enhance engagement and choice;

accessible services which manage waits, co-ordinate services and ensure times and locations are appropriate;

equitable services which reduce inequalities and ensure access for black and minority ethnic and other under-served groups;

cost-effective services which are targeted, evidence-based, effective and provided locally; and

safe services in which staff are well-trained and supported, and which are connected to clinical governance systems.

The Government are committed to improving mental health services and this is why we support increasing the availability of evidence-based psychological therapies through our programme “Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies” (IAPT), which began in May. We made improving the availability of psychological therapies a manifesto commitment in 2005, and it was a commitment we also made in the “Our Health, our care, our say” White Paper. The need to increase access to psychological therapies was also highlighted by Professor Louis Appleby, the national director for mental health, in his 2004 report on the progress made in implementing the national service framework for mental health.

IAPT will provide a more effective and timely access to psychological therapies for people with mild to moderate mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and by increasing the choice of treatments available to mental health service users.

IAPT consists of two national demonstration sites in Newham and Doncaster and a national programme of local projects in each of the National Institute for Mental Health in England's eight regional development centres. The sites will test the theory that improved access to talking therapies can help tackle suffering, promote the well-being of the general population and have a significant economic impact by returning to work more people with depression or anxiety or help them stay in employment.

IAPT forms a key part of the Government's “Health, Work and Well-Being—Caring for Our Future” strategy. IAPT, together with initiatives from the Department for Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Commission, will define the best way to achieve these improvements over the next five to ten years. We expect IAPT to provide robust evidence in favour of increasing psychological therapy capacity and this will help to clarify the numbers of staff, the skills set and the training requirements needed to do this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children were diagnosed with mental health problems in each primary care trust in each of the last 10 years, broken down by age and sex; and if she will make a statement. (93017)

Information is not available in the form requested. The Office for National Statistics 2004 survey, “Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain”, looked at the prevalence of mental health disorders. It found that in the five to 10-year-old age group 10.2 per cent. of boys and 5.1 per cent. of girls has a clinically diagnosed mental disorder. In the 11 to 16-year-old age group, the prevalence among boys was 12.6 per cent. and 10.3 per cent. among girls. This shows no change in the overall prevalence in mental disorder among children since the 1999 survey.