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Children’s mental services attacked

Mental health services for children have been criticised as “stuck in the dark ages”, by the care and support minister.

Norman Lamb told the BBC that services available to young people are “not fit for purpose”, as he launched a new task force in a bid to make improvements.

Speaking during a visit to the St Aubyn Centre, a children’s mental health centre, in Colchester, Mr Lamb said services need to be modernised.

“I don’t think that children’s mental health services, the way they’re organised, the way they’re commissioned, are fit for purpose,” he told the BBC.

“I’m determined that we modernise services for children who have mental health problems, in many respects, the way services are organised is stuck in the dark ages and it needs to be brought into the modern age.”

The new task force, which will be co-chaired by officials from NHS England and the Department of Health, will look at how best to improve the organisation of services, and how they are commissioned.

It will also focus on the use of charity and voluntary groups, as well as ways to make it easier for young people to get help online.

Mr Lamb, who has previously acknowledged the need to “drive up standards of care”, said his aim is to get young people involved.

In January Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the Government’s Mental Health Action plan, setting out 25 areas where care will be improved in the health service,

He said it was unacceptable that some children with severe mental health problems were still being cared for on adult wards, and some being transferred to centres miles from their homes.

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