A new advisory council will “champion” the good mental health of children in Britain, the government has announced.
It follows the publication last week of an independent review of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).
The review reported that although improvements had been made in CAMHS provision since 2004 there were “unacceptable” variations between areas of Britain.
And problems are not being spotted early enough and services are taking too long to respond, said the review’s report.
The new National Advisory Council, launched by The children’s secretary Ed Balls and health secretary Alan Johnson, is charged with “holding the government to account” on delivery of the review’s recommendations. These included that the entire children’s workforce have mental health training within two years.
The CAMHS review examined progress made since the government’s children’s national service framework of 2004.
The framework is a ten-year policy document detailing what services children and young people should expect. Standard 9 of the framework addressed the mental health of children and young people.
But, despite government assurances, Simon Lawton of the Mental Health Foundation charity is sceptical that the advisory council would be effective.
“We need to know what powers it will have over local areas that are slow to commission comprehensive CAMHS,” he said.