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Sunday, 13 May 2007

Children suffering from mental health problems will no longer be placed on adult wards, ministers have promised.

Victory for IoS on mental health care for children - Independent on Sunday


"Ministers have pledged to ensure that children suffering from mental health problems are not placed on adult wards after a long campaign waged by The Independent on Sunday.

Following an outcry over the fact that children as young as 12 are being incarcerated with adults in psychiatric institutions, the Government is preparing to ensure that children are not made to share wards with mentally ill adults.

In a surprise U-turn, ministers have privately indicated that they will amend the Mental Health Bill so that by law children under 16 must be treated in an "age-appropriate" environment.

The climb-down is a victory for The Independent on Sunday which last month revealed how children and teenagers are physically and verbally abused, left without proper therapy and housed with seriously disturbed adults.

It follows a campaign by a coalition of MPs, mental health pressure groups and peers, who argue that sending children with psychiatric problems to adult facilities is traumatic and cuts their chances of recovery.

Rosie Winterton, the minister for mental health, is to write immediately to health authorities telling them that putting a child under 16 on an adult ward would be seen as "a serious untoward incident"."

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