Published: 03/06/2004, Volume II4, No. 5908 Page 5

The expansion of mental health czar Louis Appleby's role to include children's and older people's mental health services must not come at the cost of continued improvement of adult services, mental health charity Rethink has warned.

Professor Appleby is to work with children's czar Professor Al Aynsley-Green and national clinical director for older people Professor Ian Philp to develop the mental health components of the children and adolescent mental health services programme and the older people's national service framework.

Rethink chief executive Cliff Prior welcomed the extra emphasis on children's and older people's services as it further recognised the need to deal with the needs of the 'forgotten generation' of elderly mentally ill people.

But NHS adult mental health services had a long way to go before they could be considered 'world class'.