Young people are being left in mental health hospital wards longer than necessary due to a lack of community care, according to a new report by the Education Policy Institute.
Between October 2015 and February 2017 children spent nearly 9,000 days waiting to leave mental health hospitals, yet were unable to do so due to lack of subsequent support.
The report found that access to inpatient beds in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) varies widely across England
The lowest provision of beds was in the South West offering just 1.1 beds per 100,000 young people.
The authors of the report said this can lead to young people being admitted to adult wards, despite there being a duty to prevent this in the Mental Health Act of 2007.
Experimental NHS data shows that, in 2016, children under 16 spent a total of 1,657 days on adult wards.
Nearly a quarter of young people’s mental health hospital units also struggled to employ permanent staff.
One in nine inpatient units failed to meet basic requirements for staff to patient ratios.
The report said that staffing shortages are affecting quality of care and impatient units must focus on recruitment of skilled staff to work in child and adolescent mental health services.