Milton Keynes health chiefs have been told by the NSPCC to sort out their ‘inadequate’ mental health plans – as they ‘completely ignore’ children who have suffered abuse.
The child protection charity estimates that there are 8,959 children in the city who have been abused or neglected, and are being let down by an inadequate mental health plan.
The NSPCC analysed local clinical commissioning groups’ (CCGs) published mental health plans and gave each plan a traffic light rating based on how well it had factored in the needs of children who have been abused.
And the mental health plan by Milton Keynes CCG received a red rating, having made ‘no reference whatsoever to the needs of children who have been abused’.
Milton Keynes, Aylesbury Vale & Chiltern and Hertfordshire were the three CCGs out of 10 in the East of England to be given the lowest rating by the NSPCC.
NSPCC trustee and clinical psychologist Professor Tanya Byron said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail, and alarmingly most CCGs are setting themselves up to fail children who have already been through abuse and trauma.
“It is unacceptable that despite the huge number of children estimated to have been abused, and the known link between abuse and mental health problems, the vast majority of our health services do not have a proper strategy for how to take care of these children.
“CCGs need to urgently review and improve their plans so that they are fully prepared to help children when they need it most.
"And Government needs to hold CCGs to account to publish high quality plans in a timely fashion every year.”
A spokesperson for NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are disappointed to see that the Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) children’s mental health plan has been rated by the NSPCC as red.
“Our local plan has been produced in partnership with a range of stakeholders and informed by what young people and their families have told us and has been submitted for the previous two years to NHS England. We believe that much of what is referred to in the report is implicit in our plans which are based on meeting the needs of all children and young people.
“In Milton Keynes we are currently refreshing our Children and Young Peoples Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Transformation Plan. We will ensure that our plan more explicitly states how we meet the needs of children who have suffered abuse, which we know impacts on their mental health and emotional wellbeing.”