Children may still be on adult psychiatric wards

Adult psychiatric wards may still be holding children under 16 – despite a target to end the practice by November 2008

Steve Shrubb, director of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, which represents mental health trusts, told Community Care magazine that some trusts may still be admitting 15-year-olds to adult wards in “extreme extenuating circumstances”.

This could include cases where the child was fully grown and considered a physical threat to younger patients.

He said such scenarios were “very rare”.

The Department of Health said it was too early to judge whether the target had been met because figures were still being gathered.

The new Mental Health Act, which came into effect in November last year, stipulates there must be “age-appropriate” treatment for 16 and 17-year-olds on adult wards by April 2010.

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