Children six times more likely to be restrained than adults

Children in mental health units are almost six times more likely to be restrained compared to adults, according to the findings of an unpublished NHS England review.

Several sources who have been briefed, during presentations, on the unpublished review of inpatient child and adolescent mental health services undertaken by NHS England’s Getting it Right First Time team confirmed its findings to the Health Service Journal (12/07/2021)

The findings included:

  • The average length of stay for children on more than a third of general mental health wards was longer than two months, although lengths of stay across units varied significantly;
  • There is no clear and preferable inpatient model for CAMHS units nationally;
  • NHS benchmarking data, used in the report, revealed average staffing vacancy rates of 19 per cent, with one service reportedly having 70 per cent vacancy rates. The national average for mental health services generally is 14 per cent;
  • Children’s crisis and intensive community support services are inconsistent across the country, with significant variation in terms of out of hours offers, interventions and staffing levels. Young people were too often admitted to an inpatient unit because of a lack of alternative community services;
  • That more than three-quarters of children accessed mental health support through accident and emergency departments or paediatric wards six months prior to their admission; and
  • There was evidence some children’s mental health had deteriorated because of their experiences on units.
  • The report recommends restraint levels for children are no higher than adults and that providers should be benchmarked against their peers over plans to reduce restrictive practices.

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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