Jersey's director of mental health says children’s unit is ‘not viable’

Clinique Pinel Picture: ROB CURRIE. (38501372)

A CHILDREN’S mental-health in-patient unit is “just not viable” for Jersey, according to the Island’s director of mental health and adult social care – despite growing demand in recent years.

Andy Weir said they had explored the option twice since he started the role in 2022.

And he added that Jersey had sent only four children to the UK for inpatient care in the past 2½ years.

During this time, nine children with mental-health issues were admitted to Robin Ward, the Hospital’s paediatric ward, or Orchard House, where adult mental-health services were located until last month. He added that the average stay was seven days.

Mr Weir spoke to the JEP following the opening of the specialist adult mental- health unit at Clinique Pinel, which will be able to house patients aged 16 to 18 in a partitioned part of the building – but younger patients will continue to be cared for either on Robin Ward or in the UK.

Andy Weir, director of mental health Picture: ROB CURRIE. (38501369)

Mr Weir said that conversations on the new layout of Clinique Pinel had been finalised before his arrival in Jersey.

Mr Weir said: “Demand for children’s mental-health services is growing.

“But what we don’t need here is a specialist inpatient hospital for children. Because we know when children need to come into hospital because we bring them into hospital.

“And we know the rates of that are less than ten over 2½ years. So it doesn’t make any sense.

“I think we know that referrals into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) services are growing everywhere. And that pressure on CAMHS services is significant.”

He added: “In the UK, there are a regional specialists provision. In England, it’s one bed to approximately every 9,000 to 10,000 children, less in Wales and Scotland. They generally serve populations of a minimum of a million people. So the idea that we would replicate a service like that here – A, there isn’t demand, and B, it’s just not viable.”

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