Communication while on CAMHS waiting lists

ESPCF has published the results of its poll asking parent carers in East Sussex about the amount and type of communication received while their child or young person is awaiting assessment or support from CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services).

The poll also asked about those children on a waiting list for under 11 autism assessments with the Child Development Clinic run by East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT).

The findings show that almost one third of respondents (30%) weren’t sure if their child or young person was on a waiting list, or they had proactively contacted the service to find out.

Of those on a CAMHS waiting list, 86% had not received a ‘keeping in touch’ letter which ESPCF had been told were supposed to be sent out every six months. And of the 14% who had received a letter, 83% said it was unhelpful.

Read ESPCF waiting lists report (PDF)

The report outlines the next steps which ESPCF believes should be taken to address the issues raised, including a recommendation that factual information should be provided to parent carers while they are waiting. This could be stating the month and year that children who are being seen at the time of the letter joined the waiting list.

Since the poll was conducted, ESPCF understands that some IT/system issues have been identified and that processes are being reviewed to ensure ‘keeping in touch’ letters are sent out regularly to all families who should receive them. There is also work underway to improve the information and advice for parent carers while they are waiting for a referral or an assessment for their child at the Child Development Clinic, which ESPCF  has been asked to get involved with.

ESPCF has raised its findings with CAMHS leads and continue to raise these issues and will keep families updated on progress.