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Buried on page 50 of the NHS Long Term Plan, at the end of a paragraph where other totally generic statements are ‘bolded’, is a sentence I want to see written on banners, spray painted across the front of Whitehall and on the front page of every politician’s ‘vote for me’ handouts between now and 2030. ‘Over the coming decade the goal [of the NHS] is to ensure that 100% of children and young people who need specialist [mental health] care can access it’ (https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/nhs-long-term-plan-version-1.2.pdf).
If this is surprising to readers, that our country currently is not even trying to meet the health needs of children with mental health conditions, it should not be. Until the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, the stated goal was to increase funding and staffing to services to meet the needs of one in three children and young people in need of specialist mental health support by 2021 (https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Mental-Health-Taskforce-FYFV-final.pdf). Not one in three children and young people, …
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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