• New beds will be for patients with eating disorders
  • Move comes before “new model of care” is formally established

Twelve more child and adolescent mental health beds have been commissioned from a private provider in the south east of England to avoid sending youngsters out of area.

The beds at Cygnet Healthcare’s Godden Green Hospital near Sevenoaks, Kent, are planned to be on stream from March 2019. NHS England already commissions 24 CAMHS beds at the hospital and the 12 additional ones will be specifically for young people with eating disorders.

Cygnet is a partner in the “new model of care” pilot for CAMHS in the south east which is meant to go live in shadow form in October. The scheme – led by Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust – was originally meant to go live a year ago with the aim of reducing the numbers of young people travelling long distances for treatment.

The Care Quality Commission gave Godden Green a “good” rating after an inspection in February this year. But the CAMHS service there had previously been at risk of losing its registration. A critical CQC report last year had highlighted how incidents had not been notified to the CQC, and at one time the hospital was limited to only taking eight patients.

Cygnet’s site at Woking stopped providing a CAMHS service in 2017 after criticisms from the CQC; it had a psychiatric intensive care unit which took patients from across the south east.

According to Cygnet’s website, Godden Green provides acute CAMHS for a range of mental health disorders across two wards with an on site school. The site also houses a low secure service for men, which is run in conjunction with Kent and Medway Partnership FT. Cygnet would not comment on whether the expansion of CAMHS beds will affect the low secure service.

The government has committed to ending inappropriate out of area placements for CAMHS cases by 2020. Although out of area placements fell in 2017-18 compared with the previous year, some youngsters are still being sent hundreds of miles with three Kent clinical commissioning groups sending them more than 200 miles away, according to a freedom of information request sent by the Labour Party.