The revelation came as bosses at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) presented their latest quality report to members on Northumberland County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.
Despite the challenges faced by the trust during the pandemic, praised was heaped on staff for continuing to offer services to as many patients as possible.
Speaking at the meeting, Lisa Quinn – the trust’s executive director of finance, commissioning and quality assurance, said: “Clearly, we have gone through unprecedented times over the last two years. We kept going throughout the pandemic and in the last year we’ve some an increase of need in mental health across all ages, particularly within children’s services.
“We managed to maintain access in a timely manner throughout the pandemic, which we are really proud of. It’s been an extreme effort for the community staff who have go the extra mile to maintain that level of access to the population.
“We have continued to struggle with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and ADHD. We are working with commissioners to see what we can do around these pathways.”
The report given to councillors showed that people aged between 0 and 18 made up the highest proportion of the trust’s service users in Northumberland, with 2,816 out of 10, 757.
Furthermore, pressure on Children and Young People Services (CYPS) led to a significant increase in children and young people waiting more than 18 weeks for services. However, in Northumberland no child has waited past 19 weeks since the first part of 2020.
The trust also updated members on its priorities for the coming year, which are:
Improving the inpatient experience Improving waiting times Support service users and carers to be heard Equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights
Specifically referencing the new target of decreasing waiting times, she added: “Due to the extent of the delays I would like to see progress this year. We need support and help from partners.
“It is going to take some years to come to see improvement.”