Children in adult mental health units
The Mental Health Commission (MHC) has hit out at the practice of admitting children and adolescents to adult mental health facilities.
It said the practice was "totally unacceptable" but common, as its annual report showed there were 68 such admissions in 2016. The report revealed a 29.2pc decrease in admissions in that year compared to 2015.
However, figures for 2017 to the end of May showed a continuing increase.
"The fact the MHC was notified of 68 admissions of children and adolescents to adult mental health units in 2016 shows a stark failure to abide by established policy," said John Saunders, chairman of the commission.
"The increase in 2017 so far shows that on this issue we are going backwards."
In the first five months of 2017, there were 44 child admissions to adult units compared to 36 for the same period in 2016.
The possible reason for this trend included a fall in the number of beds for child and adolescent mental health services due to a shortage of personnel to staff the services.
Geography, clinical decisions and family preference were also given as possible explanations.
At the end of May 2017, there were 77 operational beds for the CAMHS service, a decline of 16 on the same time last year.
Mr Saunders said this has to be addressed by Government.