TWO mental health units for young people in Colchester have some of the highest proportion of rejected referrals, a new study has found.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI), which carried out the study, said more than one in four children and young people referred to specialist services are rejected for treatment in England.

The EPI said it was unclear what support was available to the approximately 133,000 youngsters who were turned away. The data showed that 26 per cent of all referrals in 2018/19 were rejected.

The study said Larkwood ward saw 86 per cent of referrals rejected and Longview ward had 70 per cent rejected in 2018-19.

But the Essex Partnership Trust, which runs the wards, said the figures it provided in the Freedom of Information response did not correctly exclude referrals which were withdrawn as they were no longer required.

Updated figures show 79 per cent of referrals were rejected at Larkwood and 59 per cent were rejected at Longview.

Longview treats young people with a range of mental health difficulties including depression and self harm.

Larkwood is a secure ward providing care for young people with acute mental health difficulties.

Andy Brogan, deputy chief executive at the trust, said: “The two wards at the St Aubyn’s Centre work with young people with some of the most complex needs.

“It is important these services are able to meet the support needs of their patients and manage risks to their safety. Unfortunately, this means the services will not always be able to accept every referral.

“There are very few adolescent psychiatric intensive care unit in the country, and consequently the referral rate to Larkwood is very high. This means it is difficult to make any useful comparisons between the referral and acceptance rates for this ward and a general inpatient ward.”

Referrals were rejected at Larkwood if the person did not meet the threshold for care, needed higher level care or the ward was at capacity. At Longview the main reasons for rejecting referrals was a lack of capacity and people needing more specialist services.