Falling child psychiatry numbers do not make happy reading

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Science Journalist for ACAMH

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The Royal College of Psychiatrists made headlines back in September, when it uncovered a drop in the number of child psychiatrists from 1,015 full-time equivalent posts in May 2013 down to 948 in May 2017, despite a growing demand for child psychiatry.

The figures come from the NHS Digital’s monthly census of staffing numbers, which are broken down by speciality and pay grade.

The findings, published in the Guardian, were accompanied by condemnatory comments from both the Royal College of Psychiatrists and youth mental health charity, Young Minds.

September also saw the UK Parliament’s Health Committee – which scrutinises the government on health issues – launch an inquiry into a potential shortfall of nurses.

The inquest began after figures were published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in July, showing that more people are leaving the professional nursing register than joining it.

The committee hopes to establish the scale of any potential shortfall in nurse numbers. It will also examine the impact on recruitment strategies such as Nurse First, as well as funding reforms and the newly-created nursing associate positions.

At the time of going to print, a report into the findings of the inquest was slated to be published in November.

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