A new NHS taskforce has been announced to improve current specialist children and young people’s inpatient mental health, autism and learning disability services in England.

The taskforce will seek to make a rapid set of improvements in care – over 18 months – but will start immediately, and will also agree a set of recommendations for next steps.

The organisation also announced that specialist delivery teams will be made up of doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical professionals who will be asked to consider the best way to deliver compassionate care for acute need – including reviewing independent sector and NHS provision – and giving nurses and other staff the right clinical expertise and managing issues like seclusion and segregation in inpatient settings.

Alongside treating acute conditions, the Long Term Plan commits to delivering a £2.3 billion funding injection for community mental health services, as well as record-high investment in children’s care, to provide care for 345,000 extra young people and more than 370,000 adults with severe mental illness.

Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that the organisation “welcomes NHS England’s new taskforce to improve inpatient care for children and young people with mental illness, autism and learning disabilities. We hope this will help deliver the positive vision set out in the NHS Long Term Plan for children’s mental health services.”

The services improvements are part of the NHS Long Term Plan, which sets out an ambitious programme to transform mental health services, autism and learning disability; with a particular focus on boosting community services and reducing the over reliance on inpatient care, with these more intensive services significantly improved and more effectively joined up with schools and councils.