SHOCKING figures have revealed that more than a third of children referred for NHS mental health services in the last two years have been turned away.

The figures obtained by Children’s charity NSPCC showed that from the 4,740 children referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in East Lancashire, 1,660 were turned away.

East Lancashire Patients’ Voice Champion Russ McLean said the numbers were ‘alarming and disgusting’

He said: “When people, be they adults or children, go for help for mental health issues it’s a big step.

“To then be rejected for that help is diabolical.

“Those figures are alarming and disgusting.

“The solution is Blackburn with Darwen clinical commissioning group need to put more money into the services, but central government will need to make more money available.

“For far to long mental health has been the second cousin to physical health, I find it incredulous that this is still the case.

“It’s about time they pulled their finger out and put some resources into it.”

This comes following last month’s announcement by the charity said that mental and emotional health is now the most common reason for a child to contact Childline, with the service carrying out more than 63,000 counselling sessions in 2016 and 2017

CAMHS Transformation Manager Jeanette Pearson:“Referrals to CAMHS go through a single point of access with both East Lancashire Children and Adolescent Services and Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, Children’s Psychology Services.

“If the referral does not meet the criteria for the CAMHS services they are then signposted to the early intervention services who are the appropriate providers to pick up on these referrals to provide the early intervention and support for children and young people.

“To support the referral process the CCGs have commissioned primary mental health workers from ELCAS who work within GP practices to offer children and young people’s assessments and consultation to help reduce the number of referrals to the complex team.

“There is no financial reason for the referrals not being seen in CAMHS, it is purely on clinical need hence the single point of access to triage and ensure all referrals that meet the criteria of the service are seen within the CAMHS service.

“There is a redesign of CAMHS services which will incorporate early intervention, so referrals will go to one single point of access for all emotional health and wellbeing issues.”

A Department of Health spokesman said the government plan to tackle the issue with a forthcoming proposal on children and young people’s mental health.

He said: “Mental health is a priority for this Government and we are determined to transform services for young people — that’s why we are putting a record £1.4 billion into children and young people’s mental health."