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Children: Mental Health Services

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his most recent assessment is of his Department's progress in meeting its target of having no children placed on adult mental health wards by 2010. (275652)

I have been asked to reply.

Section 31(3) of the Mental Health Act 2007, which the Government are committed to commencing in England by April 2010, places a duty on hospital managers to ensure that under 18s are treated in an environment which is suitable having regard to their age (subject to their needs).

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 18 May 2009, Official Report, column 1238W, where figures were provided for the number of bed-days for under 18s on child and adolescent mental health services and adult psychiatric wards, and these showed that in quarter 3 of 2008-09, the latest quarter for which data are available there were no bed-days for under 16-year-olds in adult psychiatric wards and 2,918 bed-days for 16 to 17-year-olds on adult psychiatric wards. This represents less than 7 per cent. of the total bed-days young people spent on psychiatric wards in this period, a significant reduction from 12 per cent. in 2006-07. We are continuing to monitor progress on this issue.

The National Mental Health Development Unit is currently undertaking a programme of awareness raising, self-assessment and support for trusts on this issue.


A bed-day is a day during which a person is confined to a bed and in which the patient stays overnight in a hospital.