In a debate on 23rd October I raised my concerns about mental health services for young people. The full transcript can be read here, and my interventions are posted below. You can also read the Western Morning News’ story about this issue here.
Alan Johnson: Not only did West End close in March, but we are beginning to hear of closures across the country, including in Devon and Somerset, where my right hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw)has been pursuing this issue vigorously with the chief executive of NHS England, who confirmed in a letter to him that other units had closed as a result of the change to tier 4 specification well before the spurious 1 October date.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): Is my right hon. Friend, a former Health Secretary, aware that, in Devon, that has led to young people being admitted to adult mental health residential units, in clear breach of the Mental Health Act 2007—a scandalous position? I hope that the Minister will have something to say about that when he responds.
Alan Johnson: I am aware that that has happened. I feel sure that, as the debate gathers momentum, Members from other parts of the country will have similar experiences.
Mr Bradshaw: I am sorry to have to say this, but the Minister’s speech is just waffle. Will he accept that the Government’s reorganisation of the national health service has led to confusion as to who is responsible for the interface between tier 3 and tier 4 mental health services for young people? Will he look at the cases I have raised with the Secretary of State of young people from my constituency being sent to Newcastle—the north-east of England—and all over the country, and being sent to adult wards, in breach of the law?
Norman Lamb: I do not think it has been waffle at all. I have tried to answer very directly the concerns that have been expressed. I will absolutely look into the cases that the right hon. Gentleman raises. When I hear reference to children being placed in adult services, I find that as unacceptable as he does. I want to understand how it has happened and bring it to an end. NHS England is carrying out a review over a three-month period to assess the facilities for tier 4 services to ensure that sufficient services are available in all parts of the country. Because of the nature of the specialism, they cannot be in every town and city, but they must be within reasonable reach. That is exactly what the review is seeking to undertake.