HC Deb 20 May 2004 vol 421 cc1214-5W
Mrs. Iris Robinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on child and adolescent psychiatry services in the Northern Board area, including provision of social workers. [173615]

Angela Smith

Recognising that up to 20 per cent. of young people experience mental health problems at some stage in childhood, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are a key priority in the Northern Health and Social Services Board. The number of staff in the specialist CAMHS team, which includes three Senior Social Work Practitioners, has increased from 11 to 20 over the last three years. Waiting lists for the specialist CAMHS team have reduced from 18–24 months to 3–9 months. In the last year up to 30 multidisciplinary professional workers working with young people outside of the specialist CAMHS team have received training and support.

Specialist community-based CAMHS teams strive to support young people in the community wherever appropriate rather than have recourse to in-patient services.