A new child and adolescent mental health unit will be built in Cornwall following an announcement made by NHS England today (31 March 2017).
Today’s news will mean that for the first time, children and young people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will have access to specialist mental health beds in the Duchy.
This initiative delivers on NHS England’s commitment to reduce out of area placements for children and young people by increasing bed numbers nationally by 10%.
The new 12 bed unit will accommodate boys and girls up to the age of 18.
Phil Confue, Chief Executive of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said,
“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for children and families locally”.
“We are absolutely delighted to have been given the go ahead for this unit which will provide a much needed service to some of our most vulnerable young people.
“Previously children from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly had to travel out of county for this kind of service but this new unit will enable us to deliver care much closer to home. The ability to regularly see family and friends while in hospital is a key element in people’s recovery, and especially in the case of children.”
The Trust will build the new unit on land adjacent to Bodmin Hospital where it will benefit from close links to the Trust’s other specialist mental and physical health services. It is hoped that building work will begin in Spring 2018.
In determining the location of the new facility, the Trust’s existing services and accessibility have been taken into consideration.
Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay has welcomed today’s announcement:
Commenting, Steve said:
“I am absolutely delighted at this long-needed announcement. Since my election I have worked with my Cornish MP colleagues to lobby the Government on the absolute necessity for Cornwall to have an in-county mental health inpatient unit for children and young people.”
“50% of mental health problems start before the age of 14 and 75% before the age of 18. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young men and is rising in women.”
“For too long we have had to see children and young people, at a time when they are most vulnerable, having to travel across the country to access badly needed support. This puts unbelievable strain both on them and their families, so a facility in Cornwall is absolutely essential.”
Andrew Wallis, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People at Cornwall Council told CS:
“As a longtime campaigner for a CAMHS facility in Cornwall I very much welcome this news as the young people of Cornwall deserve a unit like this. I am very pleased NHS England has listened to our concerns and approved funding for this”.
The Invictus Trust who have campaigned for so long to get a unit such as this in Cornwall said “Whilst there is a long way to go yet until we really bring back our children, we are over the moon that we have finally got the announcement we have been fighting SO hard for!!! This is a monumental day for us!!!
The news is part of a wider programme in the NHS and a national commitment to reducing out of county placements for children and young people, and comes as the Next Steps of the Five Year Review are published.