Warning over Lincolnshire youth mental health cuts

Mental health services for young people in Lincolnshire could suffer if funding is reduced, it has been claimed.

The NHS provides child psychiatrists and other support, with specialist social workers mainly paid for by £1.2m a year given by the county council.

The partnership trust said the authority was looking to reduce that amount and warned this could break up the service it provided.

The council said negotiations about funding were continuing.

Child's needs

The trust said it currently provided an integrated service where five to 15 year olds got both clinical help and social support.

Caroline Sanders, Lincoln team leader for the service, said she felt cuts would damage this joined up approach.

"There would be very vulnerable young people who would have a fragmented service.

"One of the things we are able to do as an integrated service is look holistically at a child.

"What we can't do is divide a child up and say: 'That is health, that is social care' - we need to look at a child's whole needs."

Consultation process

The move would also put the jobs of 13 specialist social workers at risk, she added.

Stuart Carlton, assistant director of children's services at Lincolnshire County Council, said in a statement: "Our budget proposals are still out to consultation and have yet to be finalised.

"We are still in negotiation about the proposals and it is premature to speculate about the future contract.

"It is too early to say how services will be provided, but children's mental health services will still be delivered by the Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust in Lincolnshire."

The trust's annual budget in 2009/10 was £93.5m and the young person's mental health services dealt with 3,167 people in the same period.

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