Dr David Fong says child and adolescent mental health services are struggling to cope with rising demand and a staff exodus. Plus a letter from Steven Walker
Last week was my final one in the NHS after 10 years in a child and adolescent mental health service (Camhs). I’m the 28th clinical member of staff to move on in the last two years. When I came back to the NHS 10 years ago, there was a layer of more experienced staff above me and a few grandees above them. Now, people with four or five years’ post-qualification experience are the wise old hands.
I completely agree with your editorial (6 November) highlighting the important role that educational mental health practitioners play, and we have been lucky to also have children’s wellbeing practitioners adding enormously to the service. But young people with complex needs are now facing an 18-month wait for a first appointment, often spending months being batted between Camhs and social care as both services creak under the strain, only to find that neither service can adequately meet their needs.