Referrals for children's mental health care in South Tyneside remain high amid impact of covid

Referral rates for children’s mental health care in South Tyneside remain high despite services “performing well in most areas”.

South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body chiefs heard of the pressures faced by mental health services in the area at their latest meeting.

Debbie Cornell, associate director for operations at the CCG, offered assurances positive work is in place, such as setting up talking therapies, to help continue to improve the offer for those accessing support.

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She added children’s mental health services remain an area where they continue to see high numbers come forward however.

The wider impacts of the pandemic have taken their toll on children. Picture c/o PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay.

She said: “We know the children referral rates are still high but unfortunately some of that is due to Covid, but again work is continuing to address that.

“I think we’re performing well in most areas, I think that’s a positive, and we are doing some targeted work around the talking therapies and that’s being mobilised at the moment.”

Speaking at the virtual meeting on Thursday (March 31), she added they likely won’t see the impact of that work until the first quarter of 2022/23

Lisa Dodds, associate director for commissioning and transformation at the CCG, noted how partnership arrangements are key across the sector to providing the best support.

She highlighted how mental health services, specifically for children, are an example of how this is proving to be a success to date, and has helped outline future work needed.

She added: “The children’s mental health issue came up quite strongly at a SEND launch event as you would imagine, people waiting on waiting lists.

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“There’s a huge amount of work that’s going to fall out of that now to look at actually what are the pathways, have we got the right pathways in place.

“The Mental Health Alliance will be picking that up and looking at that as a system across South Tyneside and really working with the trust and other providers on that as well.”

She added it is important they continue to strengthen what they have in place, but they are in a “really fortunate position compared to other areas”.

Reports said they are currently meeting targets set by NHS England in respect to health checks, mental health support service, and the introduction of primary care network roles.

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It was noted additional support for dementia diagnosis pathways have also been put in place to help reduce inappropriate referrals after this was highlighted as “an area of pressure”.

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