The CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and emotional wellbeing services are commissioned by both West Sussex County Council and local Clinical Commissioning Groups to provide services for young people in emotional distress who require support for their emotional wellbeing. Children and Young people are referred by a range of children's professional (including GPs) for a number of different reasons and it is important that they are seen by appropriate services in a timely fashion.

We currently have a performance target of ensuring that 95% of young people referred to the specialist CAMHS service (provided by SPFT (Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust) are seen within four weeks. This target is impacted on by numbers of referrals and staffing and recruitment issues which can fluctuate month by month. Commissioners work with the provider to understand any variations in numbers seen within 4 weeks and to support them in managing this.

For further details of 2016/17 progress, please see the link below.

Quarter 4 - March 2018
There were 321 new referrals and 85% young people seen within 4 weeks in February.    SPFT have breached against the 4 week target.  It should be noted that although there were 321 new referrals only 41% went on to receive a service as 59% were signposted!   Hence the actual number of breaches is low (5). 
 Please note that there has been a slight increase in the numbers of breaches against the 4 week target, but the numbers are low (averages 3-6 breaches a month).   However, we are addressing this with SPFT as part of their monthly performance letter which is sent to them via Commissioning Support Unit on behalf of commissioners.  SPFT have 5 days to respond to these queries. 

January 2018 Update

During January the percentage of referrals receiving an assessment within 4 weeks rose to 87%, despite the number of referrals increasing this month.

Services across Sussex continue to experience challenges in meeting the 4 week target, as a result of increased clinical and service re-design demands as well as complexity of referrals. Workforce recruitment and vacancies remains an ongoing issue.

The service continues to work with the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust to discuss ongoing performance on a case by case basis, looking at their reasons for delays, actions and lessons learnt. In terms of mitigation the following is in place:-

  • workforce strategy is being developed to support the availability of clinical staff
  • Monthly meetings with SPFT to seek assurance and understand issues faces by the service
  • Joint triage with Tier 2 service to ensure the right children are referred to clinical CAMHS service.

Quarter 2 - September 2017

There were 259 new referrals for August and 100% met the 4 week target. There has been a drop in referrals in August, which is consistent with previous years and consistent with school holidays.

Quarter 1 - June 2017

This quarter saw a 20% increase in referrals compared to last year, an average of 360 referrals per month and peaking at 409 in May.

SPFT cares for our local Children and young people with the most complex needs and we work closely with them on the development of a range of specialist services and initiatives. These include our family eating disorder service, A&E liaison service, and care for looked after and adopted children, unaccompanied asylum seekers, children with complex behaviours and children and young people in crisis. We are also currently working with SPFT to develop enhanced pathways for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. SPFT also provide our community mental health liaison service, offering advice and training for professionals.

One of the services available - YES (Youth Emotional Support) offers emotional support to over 2,250 young people every year, providing a wide range of emotional wellbeing issues. It helps young people to make positive choices and build resilience. Close working and formal links with CAHMS, counselling and other services means that YES can provide tailored, seamless support, often addressing issues such as education and employment alongside emotional wellbeing. Operating from 8 FindItOut centres across the county, YES accepts self-referrals and referrals from GPs and public health nurses. It currently sees around 200 new young people every month and its success means that on average less than 3% require a referral to CAMHS.

We continue to meet and work with SPFT regularly to ensure ongoing improved performance.

Quarter 4 - March 2017

Year-end Commentary

The numbers of referrals has remained consistent, averaging at 334 per month. SPFT have met their overall target for seeing 95% of children and young people within 4 weeks.

Highlights for the year include:

  • A Sussex-wide eating disorder service has been commissioned, funded by health through the LTP (Local Transformation Plan). A high number of referrals (over 150 in 6 months) have been received since the service was launched in October 2016, in particular from West Sussex. This service is noted as exemplary by NHS England.
  • Additional health funding through the LTP has led to investment in a wide range of additional emotional wellbeing and mental health services in West Sussex, including therapy for unaccompanied asylum seeking children, whole schools and colleges approach to emotional wellbeing and schools, advocacy service (130 children and young people have received support over the past year), counselling for children, young people and their families who have witnessed sexual abuse and exploitation. Since July 2016 Lifecentre have supported over 100 children and young people.
  • The YES Service delivered by IPEH (Integrated Prevention and Earliest Help Service) have received over 2,200 referrals between 2016-17. Due to demand the service has been extended to offer a service from 13-18 year olds to 11-18 year olds. This year the service has reported that 11% of clients are aged 11 years. Only 2.8% of cases were escalated to CAMHS.
  • Investment in counselling services for under 18 – Dialogue YMCA have received over 750 referrals for face to face counselling over the year and 2,000 young people have registered to use Kooth . The service receives around 1,250 logins every month and three quarters of these are outside of school hours.
  • Over 750 members of the children and young people workforce have taken part in training on emotional wellbeing and the mental health programme over the past year.
  • There have been occasions when SPFT have not met the target of 95% of children and young people receiving as service within 4 weeks. These have been discussed and addressed with commissioners and have been often associated to demand and capacity issues.