THOUSANDS of children in Dorset who are vulnerable and being neglected are being let down by county health chiefs, new figures show.

NSPCC research shows that more needs to be done in Dorset to plan for the mental health needs of 19,852 children who have been abused or neglected.

The charity analysed the latest annual plans published by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the country, which set out how they will care for children's mental health. 

Their research found that 64 per cent of CCGs were failing to properly plan for the needs of vulnerable children, including those who had been abused.

Under the NSPCC's traffic light system, Dorset CCG have been given the amber rating two years in a row which means action is needed to improve the plan.

Two thirds of CCGs in the South West of England were given amber rankings by the NSPCC last year, covering an estimated 115,412 children.

Elsewhere in the South West, Devon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire’s CCGs all stagnated and remained amber after the previous year, while Bristol and Swindon were also amber.

Bath and North East Somerset, as well as Somerset, were rated green, which means they used data well to assess local need and inform service provision, whilst Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly CCG had not refreshed its plan at the time of the research.

Meanwhile, half of CCGs across England have stagnated and received a red or amber rating for the second year running, with no apparent improvements in planning for the mental health needs of abused children.

Almudena Lara, NSPCC’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “We recognise the hard work of NHS staff providing much-needed mental health services to young people. These ratings are not a reflection on those services and the staff working to deliver them.

“But our analysis shows that there are CCGs across England that are still not properly planning for the mental health needs of abused children and young people. It is crucial these children are supported to get back on track and lead healthy lives.

“In future we want to see more CCGs not only recognise the needs of these children, but go further and ensure services are there to support them.”

In response, a spokesman for Dorset CCG said: “We are working on plans locally which are due to be refreshed in October 2018. These plans will go into more detail about how we are able to support Dorset’s most vulnerable children.”