CONCERNS have been raised over the length of time children and young people with mental health issues are waiting to get support.

Vulnerable youngsters across the county are waiting on average seven weeks for a first non-urgent appointment - a week less than the eight week national benchmark - but councillors say this is still far too long.

The concerns were raised at yesterday’s (September 19) health and overview scrutiny committee at County Hall as representatives from the Worcestershire Health and Care Trust outlined the state of mental health and emotional wellbeing services for children and young people in the county.

Councillor Fran Oborski said: “I am particularly concerned about the waiting times from the first appointment to the start of treatment.

“The reason some of these children are looked after in the first place is because of some of the traumatic family experiences they have suffered.

“Eight weeks in the life of a young teenager may not seem like long to us but to a teenager with serious issues it could feel like a very long time and that really worries me.”

Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, who prefer support to take place in the home, say children are moved into hospital only as an “absolute last resort.”

Hospital treatment for children with mental health issues is currently commissioned by NHS England and distributes beds nationally rather than locally.

At present, no beds are provided in Worcestershire so youngsters are forced to travel to Birmingham, Stafford and the Cotswolds for care.