Case study completed by:
Kola Gamel – Service Group Manager, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Public Health Nursing (Aneurin Bevan University Health Board)
Caitlin Woodland – Regional School Liaison Officer for Service children in East Wales (Newport City Council and SSCE Cymru)
Findings from the SSCE Cymru school survey (2019) revealed important information about Service children’s mental health and wellbeing:
54% of schools indicated that they would benefit from information on mental health and wellbeing support for Service children (p.12)
44% of primary schools and 29% of secondary schools said that supporting Service children with their emotional and wellbeing needs is a challenge (p.6)
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB)’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant and the Armed Forces’ community has been strengthened by priority treatment given to Service children’s referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Along with other Health Boards, ABUHB offers CAMHS to children/young people under the age of 18. This service includes a range of interventions and treatments, such as consultation, psychiatric assessment, developmental assessment and individual therapy.
Which areas of the Armed Forces Covenant are supported?
This initiative meets the Covenant strands: ‘improve the availability of information about the Armed Forces Covenant for the Armed Forces Community in Wales’ and ‘improve communications relating to the Armed Forces Covenant in Wales made by/between local authorities; and promote and share best practice’.
What is involved in the process?
Services in Gwent (Health, Local Authority and Local Education Authority) have a single point of contact for all emotional wellbeing and mental health service referrals and for the booking of appointments, called the Single Point of Access for Emotional Wellbeing (SPACE-Wellbeing). Referrals can be made directly to SPACE-Wellbeing by the Service child’s parent or parents can talk to a GP, teacher, social worker or any children’s services professional about making a referral to SPACE-Wellbeing.
The SPACE-Wellbeing referral form contains a section on priority treatment for Service children and young people, which needs to be completed as part of the referral process. This option on the referral form ensures that every child/young person identified as a Service child receives priority treatment and support with the Health Board once their referral is accepted. There is no distinction between a child/young person of current serving Armed Forces personnel and those of ex-serving personnel (veterans); both are supported under the covenant. SPACE-Wellbeing passes on referrals for CAMHS concurrently (within 24 hours) and there is no delay in receiving this information into the Health Board.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, a direct line for families was set up which now enables parents to receive ‘reassurance, support and validation’ by accessing support directly from senior clinicians. For a short period of time, the working day was extended to 24 hours. Through a combination of the direct line, remote/virtual support and face-to-face support, where clinically indicated, there was a maintained, limited wait time to access CAMHS support.
How is the impact of this support for Service children measured?
An improved performance management and reporting framework was implemented in the CAMHS service in late 2018 (full implementation of CAPA Model). This reports on referrals into CAMHS, assessment approaches, treatment options, clinic outcomes, patient tracking and discharges.
Since including on our referral forms the option to indicate whether a referral is for a Service child, a clear pathway is now in place for Service children. There is currently no waiting list for any child or young person to access CAMHS and the service does not anticipate any difficulty in meeting the covenant commitment in the future.
What is the impact?
Currently, the flow of all patients moving through CAMHS is consistent and, on average, an initial assessment/appointment takes only 3-4 weeks.
There has been a recent focus on the effectiveness of CAMHS delivery to ensure that the impact of Covid-19 is mitigated for children/young people. Demand, flow and outcomes for patients have been reviewed, managed, and measured.
“As part of reflective conversations, we asked whether any measures could have been done differently and the answer is no; everyone accessing our service is guaranteed a prompt response and focus on their need hence why we are the only CAMHS service in Wales with no wait time since 2017.”
Kola Gamel, Service Group Manager
SSCE Cymru encourages other Welsh University Health Boards to adopt this policy in support of Service children and the Armed Forces Covenant. We are able to support this, so please contact us for further advice or guidance.
For further information about the service or to access support visit the ABUHB CAMHS webpage.
Date produced: March 2020