Since 1 April 2010 mental health trusts and PCTs have been under a duty (by virtue of section 131 MHA) to ensure that the environment on a mental health ward is suitable to the child’s age subject to their needs, ie, they have to provide age appropriate accommodation for under 18’s.
YoungMinds, the voice for young people's mental health and wellbeing, has produced a practical briefing which sets out some key factors to make adult wards safe and appropriate for young people:
- wards need established links with one CAMHS team and CAMHS professionals to support under 18s admitted;
- joint working between CAMHS and the adult ward staff should be established;
- staff should be CRB checked;
- staff need to have the necessary skills to ensure young people receive appropriate assessments, care and treatment;
- all admissions of under 18s should be monitored to assess compliance with the new duty to provide age appropriate care;
- staff should liaise with educational services to ensure continued learning when required; and
- wards need to have robust transfer protocols to support transitions to other services.
The practical briefing can be accessed here.