LETTERS

We were concerned, but not surprised, to read of the difficulties being faced by East London and the City health authority in funding the level of service required by the mental health national service framework ('Lack of cash threatens mental health services', news, page 4, 31 May).

The children's mental health charity YoungMinds is contributing to the development of the children's national service framework. We hope that the standards it sets for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) will produce a significant growth in the specialist CAMHS and an enhanced recognition and resourcing of a comprehensive CAMHS involving primary healthcare, social services and education.

However, the final tranche of the government's three-year funding, announced two years ago, to develop a comprehensive CAMHS has 'gone missing' this year in the base budgets of HAs.

The£10m that was to have been ring-fenced for CAMHS in the modernisation fund in 200102, as part of a£90m programme, has not been ringfenced and has, with a few exceptions, not found its way into the intended service area.

This was a commitment repeated by the Department of Health last year in its evidence to the Commons select committee's enquiry on NHS mental health services.

With 10-25 per cent of children and young people experiencing mental health problems, this is not a responsible way to deal with services intended to meet their needs.

If children's mental health problems continue to be dealt with in this fashion - even when a children's national service framework is in place - the consequences will inevitably manifest themselves in the adult mental health services, the prison services and the courts.

This can only perpetuate and exacerbate the problems East London and the City HA faces in trying to provide adequate mental health services for adults.

Peter Wilson Director YoungMinds London EC1