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  1. Published on: 08/08/2017 08:54 AMReported by: roving-eye
    Britain's top Appeal Court family judge has dived in to the furore over politicians' false promises for children suffering with mental illnesses. And a local health watchdog confirms that the problem identified by the top judge exists in this local area.

    Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division in Britain's Court of Appeal warns that the state will have "blood on its hands" if an NHS hospital is not found for a suicidal 17-year-old girl within days. Sir James says he felt "ashamed and embarrassed" that a UK-wide search had turned up no hospital that could take the teenager who is currently being held in a secure unit where she has been physically restrained 117 times to stop her killing herself.

    Describing the girl, whose home is in the North West, l as merely "existing" in "shocking conditions", Sir James added: "I cannot bring myself to use the word 'living' ". He said that this case underlined the "well known scandal" of the "disgraceful and utterly shaming lack of proper provision' for children and young people with mental health problems. If this is the best we can do for her, and others in similar crisis, what right do we, what right do the system, our society and indeed the state itself, have to call ourselves 'civilised' "?

    "For my own part, acutely conscious of my powerlessness. . . I feel shame and embarrassment. Shame as a human being, as a citizen and as an agent of the state, embarrassment as President of the Family Division, and, as such Head of Family Justice, that I can do no more for her." Despite the Court's best efforts,and those of other agencies, no suitable NHS bed had been found. The judge observed: "I might as well have been talking to myself in the middle of the Sahara."

    Staff at the secure unit are convinced that the girl's present goal is to kill herself and, if she is sent back to her home town on release, it would be a 'suicide mission'.

    Last week local NHS watchdog Councillor Tony Dawson questioned the governments sudden statement that it was going to recruit 21,000 new Mental Health staff within a few years. Councillor Dawson warned that warm words alone, especially if they were false words, would not get local and national Mental Health Services improved. Commenting on Sir James Munby's outburst, Councillror Dawson says:

    "These words needed saying by someone independent and with authority. Only last year, I was contacted by the desperate relatives of a local girl who had been 'medically cleared' to go home from a highly expensive secure psychiatric unit near Manchester but she remained locked up at enormous cost for weeks because there was nowhere for her to go where she would receive the necessary support. The bed she was occupying all those weeks was not available to anyone else who actually needed to be there - and there is a desperate shortage of such beds."

    Last week, Councillor Dawson expressed major doubts as to whether the declared 21,000 extra staff the government says it will put in place can ever be recruited since forcing student nurses to take out student loans, is putting off students from entering the profession.

    "The government needs to start being honest with the people." he says. "Their supposed new target of getting a million more people being treated within four years will not be achieved by warm words and dreaming. One in ten present mental health nursing posts is presently vacant, there are not the training places available to get those staff in place within four years and the government is not presently funding the expansion of mental health nurse training which would be needed if these plans are going to be made a reality."

    "Even worse, the local Care Commissioning Groups have admitted to me that the current mental health provision in both ends of the Borough of Sefton has not even expanded to the level as was decreed under the Coalition government.due to the local NHS purchasers being allegedly 'overspent' from previous years."

    "To be serious about getting Mental Health Services on track, " says Councillor Dawson, "the government needs, as the Royal College of Nursing say, to restore funding for nurse training, lift the fixed 'cap' on nurses pay rates and try to bring some older people who have experience in other walks of life into mental health nursing workforce urgently."

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