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CQC to begin review of child mental health services next month

26 April 2021

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will begin reviewing mental health services for children and young people from May, its board has said.

The regulator’s latest provider collaboration review (PCR) will assess the ongoing care provision for young people diagnosed with a high-level mental health need, in addition to reviewing the experiences of those accessing the system for the first time.

Speaking at the CQC board meeting last week (21 April), Rosie Benneyworth, chief inspector of primary medical services, said the review will focus on care provided ‘across the whole pathway’, including primary care and community services.

She added: ‘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.’

PCRs ‘deep dive’ into inequalities

The CQC launched its provider collaboration review programme in July 2020 to look at how health and social care providers are working together in local areas and offer insight into how organisations have collaborated during the pandemic.

So far, the CQC has published reports 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 this month.

Four of the five reviews have also included a ‘deep dive’ on inequalities with a focus on different ethnic groups, according to the CQC.

In a letter to all providers in England last year, the watchdog said the findings from the reviews could be used to inform planning for ‘any subsequent spikes of Covid-19’, as well as improving system planning and collaborative working.

In its first phase – which involved reviews of 11 Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) in July and August 2020 – the CQC’s PCR team found that the move to digital working during the pandemic ‘accelerated access to services’ and helped vulnerable groups access support.