This question was a written question that was set out by Sally-Ann Hart who is the Hastings and Rye MP and it was responded on Friday by the alerted by the Health and Social Care Minister who is Maria Caulfield who is the MP for Lewes. The question was relatively short from Sally who asked “To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to provide funding for a network of early support hubs for the provision of mental health support for young people in the forthcoming Major Conditions Strategy.” and the response is below. Interestingly so far one person has claimed it was well answered and one person has claimed it was poorly answered. It will be interesting to find out if more people will respond. Here is the answer.
Further policy detail will be set out in the Major Conditions Strategy Interim Report, later this year. The Government is aware of Early Support Hubs and is working with the sector to understand their role in supporting children and young people but there are currently plans to create a network of hubs across the country. There are currently around 60 hubs in England that feature early intervention and prevention services. They are locally designed and funded and often provide several different services, for example, sexual health clinics or careers advice. Integrated care boards and local authorities work with local partners to understand local needs and commission services on that basis.
Nationally, we are supporting the expansion and transformation of mental health services for children and young people through the NHS Long Term Plan. As part of the accompanying investment of at least an extra £2.3 billion a year by March 2024, an additional 345,000 children and young people will be able to get the mental health support they need. We also provided an additional £79 million for 2021/22 to allow around 22,500 more children and young people to access community mental health services and around 2,000 more to access eating disorder services.
We are making good progress on expanding access year on year. The number of children and young people aged under 18 supported through National Health Service funded mental health with at least one contact with services was 689,621 in the year up to July 2022 compared to 618,537 in the year up to July 2021.
Seems like plenty of plans for the future but the reality is that services are in a shockingly poor state and need an urgent injection of help now. Waiting lists are far too long, and in addition staff too often inadequately trained to deal with the complexity of cases presented to them. This is especially true in relation to eating disorders. So thank you Ian for highlighting this issue.
Cheers Clare, that was a very good response.