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MP calls for new deal for mental health provision in Cumbria after shocking new waiting times revealed

November 23, 2018 10:15 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron is calling for a new deal for mental health provision in Cumbria after damning figures revealed that over three quarters of children with eating disorders in the county aren't seen by a psychologist within the national standard of four weeks while some have to wait over 12 weeks.

During a meeting with the leading eating disorder charity BEAT, Tim was given figures from Cumbria Partnership Trust which show that over the past year, most young people (61%) are seen between four and 12 weeks after being referred, while 15% had to wait until over 3 months to be seen.

Meanwhile none of the cases which are described as 'urgent' are seen within the national standard of one week.

BEAT say they had serious concerns about the fact that the Trust doesn't accept self-referrals and when asked if they had a plan to begin doing so, they said 'no'.

These figures come after the Government, for the second time in a month, refused to provide Tim with figures about children and young people with mental health problems in Cumbria.

Tim has written to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, with a three-point plan to improve mental health provision in Cumbria, including a specialist eating disorder service, a mental health worker for in every school and for GPs to be full trained to deal with mental health problems.

Tim said: "These figures are deeply worrying.

"It's simply unacceptable that our young people are being left in the dark for the best part of three months to receive the proper help they need.

"But what's even more frightening is that according to the Trust, there has only been 15 young people with eating disorders referred to a psychologist over the past year across the whole county, and yet I receive emails from on average a parent a week in the South Lakes whose child has an eating disorder.

"If it's a case of young people not being logged onto the system properly, then this shows that people with eating disorders are simply not being taken seriously by health bosses.

"For the sake of every person struggling to find help at their lowest point, it's absolutely crucial that we secure better deal for local mental health services - Cumbria deserves better than this."