1 Oct 2008

Commissioner concerned at Government proposals on mental health and disability

NORTHERN Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, today said Government plans to deliver the recommendations of the Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability were ‘vague’.

The commissioner said the Government proposals outlined in its document, Delivering the Bamford Vision, will fail to meet the needs of children and young people.

“Five years ago on this day Government established the office of Commissioner for Children and Young People,” said Ms Lewsley. “In those five years Government has failed to comprehensively meet the needs of children and young people’s mental health and the needs of those with a learning disability.

“We hoped that the Bamford Review would have signalled a change in attitude and a commitment to meeting the needs of this vulnerable group.

“Instead we have a document from the Department of Health, Social Service and Public Safety that is vague and repackages work that is already underway.”

The commissioner, in her response to the Department’s consultation, called for a dedicated strategy for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

“There has been an historic lack of investment in this service,” she said. “We now need a fully funded action plan to deliver for young plan.

“The Bamford Review made 51 recommendations on children and adolescent’s mental health services. Dedicated timeframes, budgets and clear accountability for delivering these must be put in place.

“We don’t need vague promises – children and young people must have a commitment from Government to provide services fit for the 21st Century needs of children and young people with mental health problems or a learning disability.”

A copy of NICCY’s consultation response to Delivering the Bamford Vision is available to read here.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • NICCY was established, following support from all political parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly, on 1st October, 2003