THERE should be a greater focus on children’s mental health services, according to East Berkshire’s top health officials.

The latest available data shows that 1,505 children in Bracknell Forest had a mental health disorder as of 2014, with boys slightly more likely than girls to have been treated for a related issue.

A 2017 report analysing children’s mental health rates produced for East Berkshire’s health authorities read: “In all three areas (Slough, Bracknell and Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead) the scores indicate borderline levels of concern.”

At a meeting of Berkshire’s healthcare specialists, doctors also said fighting cardiovascular diseases and integrating healthcare and social care better should also be prioritised in the coming year.

Doctors, GPs and nurses came together to meet at the first East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) annual meeting after Bracknell and Ascot CCG, Windsor and Maidenhead CCG and Slough CCG merged in April.

NHS representatives heard how the group had successfully implemented an out of hours telephone service, extended its building’s opening hours to 8pm on weekdays, and also enhanced its ‘end of life support’ for elderly adults and carers.

However Dr Andy Brooks, the Chief Officer of the EBCCG, said: “A big challenge is working out how we work with unitary authorities in East Berkshire”.

Despite this it was announced that Bracknell Forest Council had been commended for helping the CCG to reduce the number of people over 65 being delayed in hospital beds.

The council has also helped the CCG to address social isolation in the borough, as well as bringing residents and local health groups together by setting up meetings and community events.

Megan John, a leader in Older Adult care in Bracknell and Ascot, also praised BFC for there work to support elderly people with dementia.

Bracknell and Ascot spent more than £176m on its services last year, with the majority of that expenditure going towards short term or urgent care services, as well as on mental health support and primary care.

Slough and Windsor and Maidenhead CCGs, which both look after more people than Bracknell and Ascot CCG, spent £27m and £15m more respectively.

Almost half of Bracknell’s expenditure went towards hospital services with Frimley Health NHS receiving more than £55m.

More than £15m was spent on distributing prescriptions for a population of 141,000.

However Dr Martin Kittel announced that more than half-a-million pounds is set to be spent on improving neurological care in the area.

He said: “Neurology has been difficult in our patch.

“There aren’t enough neurology consultants available.”

It is hoped that this funding will help the CCG to increase the number of specialists available in the area.

Prior to the merger, Bracknell Forest CCG received national attention from NHS England for its musculoskeletal care and also won the ‘year of self care’ from the national self-care forum.

The meeting was held at Windsor Racecourse on Wednesday, September 6.