Last reviewed 4 May 2021

This month the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is launching a review into the provision of children and young people’s mental health services during the pandemic.

The announcement comes following recent analysis from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which showed that children and teenagers were suffering most with the mental health impact of the pandemic.

NHS Digital data on referrals showed 372,438 referrals to children and young people’s mental health services (CAMHS) in April to December 2020; an increase of 28% compared with the previous year. Furthermore, 18,268 children and young people needed urgent or emergency crisis care, a rise of 18% on 2019.

The CQC’s review will focus on care provided “across the whole pathway”, according to the CQC Board Meeting of 21 April 2021, here, including primary care and community services, taking into account the experiences of children and young people diagnosed with high-level mental health needs at first referral and when receiving ongoing care.

The review will take place via the CQC’s new “provider collaboration review” programme, which was launched in July 2020 and examines how health and social care providers have collaborated locally during the Covid-19 pandemic.

To date, these reviews have focused on care for older people and urgent and emergency care, with the review team completing assessments of cancer care services and services for people with a learning disability. Four of the five reviews have also included a “deep dive” on inequalities, with a focus on different ethnic groups.

CQC Chief Inspector of Primary Care, Dr Rosie Benneyworth, said: “I think we are all concerned about the impact that the pandemic has had on children and young people’s mental health, and we feel that it is really important that we look to make sure that people get good access to care and the right care and treatment at every aspect of the pathway.”

Details of the CQC’s Board Meeting, 21 April 2021, are here.