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Rise in children on adult mental health wards is condemned by UK doctors and campaigners

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 13 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2112
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Official figures have confirmed a rise in the number of children and adolescents with mental health problems who are treated in adult wards in England. The issue was recently highlighted in the media through freedom of information requests from mental health trusts.

Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that more under 18s were treated in adult mental health wards in the first eight months of 2013-14 than in the whole of the previous year, reversing an earlier trend of falling numbers of children on adult wards.

Sue Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that the latest figures were very worrying. “It is completely unacceptable that under 18s are being treated on adult psychiatric wards, and it can be a frightening and distressing experience for young …

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