Summary of report content
Healthwatch Leicester and Healthwatch Leicestershire undertook research about people’s experience of CAMHS after receiving feedback from parents about delays in accessing treatment. Although there had been improvements in delays to assessment, there were now delays in accessing treatment. They undertook a survey to which 90 people responded.
Over three in five people are seen for their first appointment/assessment with 3 months of being referred. A small minority are still waiting a long time.
Signposting and being given other places of support during the time people are waiting for their first assessment needs to be improved. Over half said they had not received any at all and 13.5% of people said they found the resources unhelpful.
There is a lack of communication between services and patients and carers, including information on wait times for assessment and treatment Most people still feel it is too long to wait between being referred and their first appointment.
It is clear that the additional resources that have been put into place to bring the wait times down have been noticed by people using the service, however in spite of this investment, the majority of people feel that the wait time for assessment is too long. If additional high-quality signposting and support services were put in place, it could help to manage what patients and carers are going through, helping to make them feel supported.
People had positive feedback about the initial appointment, with seven in ten saying they felt listened to. Seven in ten of people also said they felt they knew what was going to happen next after the initial appointment.
The delay in treatment and care plans starting is having a detrimental effect on people using the service. Nearly two in five of people said they felt the delay added to existing mental health conditions. Increased depression and anxiety were particularly mentioned.
Care plans need to be put in place in a timely fashion to ensure the patients and carers needs are supported from the very start. Once begun, results show that treatment/plans of care do meet people’s needs. Over three quarters with a care plan said it met their needs and 68% of people felt involved in the plan.
Most people had positive feedback about the venues for appointments. However, only 39 per cent of respondents felt able to use public transport is they needed to.
Two thirds of people said they would not know what to do if they had a concern and 43% said they would know how to raise a complaint. The process for complaining and ensuring that people know what support is available including through third parties, including mental health charities and POWHER, and the corporate complaints needs to be publicised more widely, including on the back of appointment letters or on posters in waiting areas.
Over a quarter found the wait between first appointment and starting treatment or a care plan totally unacceptable compared to 16% saying it was totally unacceptable between referral and first appointment. Nearly two thirds also gave the wait time a low score between 1 and 5 for time between first appointment to treatment/care plan compared to 57% giving a low score between 1 and 5 for the time between referral.
The report includes 5 recommendations about reducing waiting times, better communication, personalised care plans, improve awareness of complaints mechanisms and information about support services.