Rotherham MP flags four-year wait for kids' mental health assessments

MP Sarah ChampionMP Sarah Champion
MP Sarah Champion
CHILDREN in the borough are waiting up to four years for a mental health assessment — a revelation described as outrageous by one of the area’s MPs.

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, called on the Government to ensure mental health care was afforded equal priority to care for physical conditions.

She said that correspondence from Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, which delivers Rotherham’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), had revealed that the current longest wait for a neurodevelopmental assessment in Rotherham was 204 weeks — almost four years.

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Speaking during an urgent question in the Commons on NHS funding, Ms Champion said: “Any investment in the NHS is welcome, but let’s be honest, this is just a drop in the ocean compared to what’s been taken out over the last 11 years.

“I am very concerned that there is still lack of parity between mental health and physical health.

“In Rotherham, the longest wait time for a child’s mental health assessment is 204 weeks, nearly four years.

“What will the minister do to speed this process up and make sure there is parity of funding?”

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Responding for the Government, Edward Argar, minister of state for health, said: “She is absolutely right to highlight the need for parity of esteem to be not just a phrase but to be made reality in our constituencies and on our streets, which is why we have significantly increased funding for mental health.”

Speaking after the debate, Labour MP Ms Champion said: “The Conservative government has been talking about ensuring parity for mental and physical health for years.

“But the fact is, this is no closer to becoming reality.

“A four-year wait for an assessment for a child is quite simply outrageous.

“Imagine visiting a doctor to discuss concerns for your six-year-old child’s wellbeing and only receiving an assessment when they are ten.

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“NHS staff work tirelessly to deliver for our communities, but they have consistently been starved of resources by a Government that has failed to grasp the scale of the challenge.

“I will continue to do everything that I can to ensure that ministers are held to their word and deliver for people in Rotherham.”