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Publication, Part of

Number of children and young people accessing NHS funded community mental health services in England, April 2018 to March 2019, Experimental Statistics

Official statistics, Experimental statistics


This publication provides the position for children and young people’s access to mental health services in England for 2018-19 based on the results of the CYP data validation exercise, conducted from May to July 2019.

The indicator under consideration for this validation exercise is E.H.9: Improve Access rate to CYPMH, Part 2A. This is the number of children and young people, regardless of when their referral started, receiving at least two contacts (including indirect contacts), with the second contact falling in 2018-19, and where their first contact occurs before their 18th birthday. Full details of this indicator can be found at

The purpose of this report is to provide a more accurate national 2018-19 end of year position for children and young people’s access to mental health services. A data validation exercise has been jointly developed and commissioned by NHS Digital and NHS England and NHS Improvement, using the Strategic Data Collection Service Classic (SDCS Classic). All NHS commissioned children and young people’s mental health services, including voluntary/independent sector providers funded by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), have been required to confirm whether the value for this indicator derived from the Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) for 2018-19 was accurate, or submit an alternative locally held figure if the MHSDS reported position was incomplete. All SDCS Classic submissions have been sent to CCGs to be validated. The accuracy of the MHSDS is dependent on all providers of NHS commissioned services ensuring they record and submit every patient contact. Reviews of MHSDS data indicated issues with the flow of accurate data from some providers, leading to under-reporting of their progress.

More information on the quality and completeness of the estimates presented in this report can be found in the report file, with detailed information available in the appendices.

These statistics supersede any MHSDS derived statistics for this indicator for 2018-19.

  • MHSDS derived values have been released for Quarters 1 to 3 in this publication series. Statistics for Quarter 4 2018-19 accompany this report in a CSV file. These have been included for operational purposes in order for users to monitor the quality and completeness of these statistics in the MHSDS. They are to be used to understand the recording of this in MHSDS only.
  • A restatement of MHSDS derived values, by month, for 2018-19 using a new methodology, to be used in 2019-20, has also been included as an Excel document for operational purposes. They are to be used to understand the change in methodology. Caution is needed when comparing 2018-19 data to the results of the 2017-18 exercise due to improved coverage; in 2018-19, 288 providers included data in the validation exercise (in comparison to 225 in 2017-18), 190 CCGs approved their submissions in 2018-19 (175 approved their submissions in 2017-18).

These statistics are classified as experimental and subject to change.

The classification of experimental statistics is in keeping with the UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice. Experimental statistics are new official statistics that are undergoing evaluation. They are published for a number of reasons; for example, in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build-in quality at an early stage.

It is believed that these statistics have immediate value to users giving the most accurate position of children and young people’s access to mental health services for 2018-19; however users need to be aware of the statistics’ limitations and related cautions around their use, which are set out within this report, to make informed and qualified use of them.

These statistics are experimental because they represent incomplete coverage and the methodology used in their definition and production have not been assured, as such they may not meet the overall quality standards necessary to be designated National Statistics.

Please send any feedback on these statistics to with ‘CYP validation exercise statistics’ in the subject.

The Code of Practice for Statistics can be accessed via:

Key Facts

  • The number of individual children and young people aged under 18 accessing treatment by NHS funded community services in England, in 2018-19 was 377,866 following the validation exercise. If only MHSDS derived values would have been used for 2018-19 the England total would have been 297,832.


  • 288 providers have been included in these statistics. Of these, 37 have been included using only values derived from the MHSDS, and 251 using wholly or in part alternative values submitted during the validation exercise. This compares to 178 providers who provided an MHSDS submission during 2018-19.

Last edited: 19 July 2019 12:08 pm