NHS pilot schemes to review CAMHS thresholds and out-of-area placements

Eight local areas to take part in NHS England funded programme to test improvements to children’s mental health services

Picture credit: Oliver Rudkin/UCF/Rex Features

Local areas will review their thresholds for child and adolescent mental health services and pressures on inpatient beds as part of a series of pilot schemes backed by NHS England funding.

The eight schemes announced yesterday also include a project to pilot how CAMHS and local authority outreach teams can jointly manage learning disability cases and an attempt to use voluntary sector services to deliver support to young people who have been deemed ineligible for tier 3 CAMHS support after referral. Other projects funded by the scheme will look at support in schools.

The projects will share a £500,000 funding pot. NHS England said the projects would help break down barriers to support in the system.

The announcement follows evidence of significant problems with the children’s mental health system.

In February of this year, an investigation by Community Care and BBC News revealed how problems accessing beds for young people in crisis had led to acutely unwell children being admitted to adult mental health units or sent hundreds of miles for care. Earlier this month, the case of a 16-year-old girl who spent two days in a police cell due to no children’s mental health beds being available hit the headlines. The girl was eventually admitted to a bed but on an adult psychiatric ward.

The eight NHS England pilot schemes include:

  • In Wolverhampton, the commissioning of inpatient beds and use of out-of-area placements will be analysed in a bid to prevent large numbers of children being sent miles from home for care. The project will also commission ‘urgent care’ services at tier 3 level to boost community-based support for young people in crisis.
  • In Tameside and Glossop, a pilot scheme will review thresholds for tier 2 and tier 3 CAMHS services and launch an open consultation on developing new thresholds and a ‘core offer’ for tier 2 and 3 support.
  • In Norfolk, a pilot will focus on the learning disabilities pathway and test out how CAMHS and local authority outreach teams can jointly manage cases.
  • In Derbyshire, a pilot service based on a ‘team around the school’ approach will test a single point of access, with a set of referral and threshold criteria drafted for targeted and specialist services.

Full details on the projects can be found here.

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