A PARENT of a child who was not accepted twice by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Dorset has called for answers as to why so many youngsters are facing a similar experience.

The father has voiced his concerns after a Daily Echo report that one young person waited 316 days to receive mental health treatment in Dorset last year, regarding his experience.

The parent, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “They never apologised and are hardly co-operative. I’ve never had an answer.”

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After his child was not accepted twice, following referral, the dad made a freedom of information (FOI) request to see if other families were facing the same issue.

The response from Dorset HealthCare NHS Trust said that between April 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020, 'one child was rejected five times' following referral to the service.

The dad said: “The reason this concerns me is all these kids that are 'rejected' never challenge the decision.

“If a GP does refer someone for an assessment that should be done.”

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The Daily Echo sent an FOI request to the trust regarding the number of patients not accepted and accepted follow GP referrals.

In 2019 the number of young people not accepted following a GP referral was 530, 533 in 2020 and 229 so far in 2021.

The issues relating to the father's child have since been addressed after he said he was told there was an 'error' in his son not being accepted previously.

Now he wants answers for everyone else and so far he has not got a "satisfactory answer".

“One excuse they used was that they are not responsible for the past as it is a new trust but it's the same people and same system," he said.

“What happens when they are 'rejected' five times, how is that possible?

"It should be impossible if a GP has referred someone five times.”

The unidentified parent said a “formal diagnosis allows for benefits and access to education” that suits them which is important for those people to be able to "get on in life".

Following correspondence with the trust regarding his complaints he is unhappy with the response.

He added: “To me it's incompetence, it's the management I’m calling into question.”

In response to the father's claims, Clare Hurley, head of CAMHS for Dorset HealthCare, cited the effects of the pandemic behind the issues.

She said: “These figures (regarding the anonymous parent’s FOI) relate to 2019/20 and the first half of 2020/21, and so were heavily impacted by the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

"They also pre-date the launch of our CAMHS Gateway service in the east of the county, which now provides prompt assessments and, where appropriate, early intervention help for young people with mental health issues.

"This service will be rolled out to the rest of Dorset shortly."

The head of the children's mental health services said the father's claims that young people are rejected “is not correct”.

Ms Hurley added: "All referrals into CAMHS are assessed with a view to understanding the needs of the young person involved, and sometimes we receive referrals which are actually more appropriate for other services to support.

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"Rather than rejecting referrals, we will always seek to identify the best way forward and signpost a person onto the appropriate service."

Ms Hurley also saidan individual being referred multiple times is not unusual.

"Each new referral is fully assessed, and, in line with national guidance and best practice, we follow the same process of identifying both need and the appropriate service to best support the person involved," she said.

“All referrals to CAMHS are dealt with as quickly as possible. We are providing assessments and treatment to more children and young people with mental health needs than ever before, and are expanding the service to meet demand.”