NSPCC research warns that over 180,000 vulnerable children with mental health issues in the East of England are in danger of being sidelined by NHS changes.

Children who have been abused, neglected or who are considered as vulnerable, are being neglected by mental health services according to research by the child service NSPCC, which evaluated annual plans of NHS CCGs.

The NSPCC found that 82 per cent of England NHS CCGs annual long-term mental health plans were not planning properly for the needs of vulnerable children. Some CCG mental health plans were inadequate or had no plans at all for younger people.

In the analysis of the plans, a ‘traffic light’ rating was given according to the quality of the mental health plans for children. ‘Red’ meant there was no recognition of increased mental health needs for vulnerable groups, ‘amber’ meant there was some recognition but requires further action and ‘green’ meant there is a recognition of the needs of vulnerable children.

NHS Herts Valley CGG Local Transformation Plan was rated ‘amber’ by the NSPCC, which is ‘inadequate’ considering the NSPCC estimated around 19,080 children have been neglected or abused in the CCG area.

A spokesman for the NHS Herts Valley CCG said: “One of our priorities is to improve support for children and young people experiencing crisis or trauma and we already provide some specific services including a dedicated trauma and attachment team provided by children and adolescent mental health services.

“As part of our transformation plan, we are currently reviewing the mental health needs of looked after children, some of whom have similar mental health needs to other groups of vulnerable children and young people.

They added: “The strength of our mental health support for all children and young people has been nationally recognised and earlier this year Hertfordshire was selected by NHS England as a trailblazer site for transforming children and young people’s healthcare across the country.

"As part of this Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust has established mental health support teams to support pupils and students in schools and colleges. Within west Hertfordshire the first phase was rolled out to St Albans schools in June.”

For 2018/19, 74 per cent of CCGs in England were rated amber, 2 per cent red and 6 per cent did not publish an update to their five-year plan. 18 per cent of plans were rated green, which is up from 14 per cent in 2015/16.

The NSPCC is calling for a commitment from NHS England to put the needs of vulnerable children at heart of its implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.