2018 CAMHS Project – Results published

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We are delighted to report the publication of findings from the 2018 CAMHS benchmarking project covering 107 services across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, making the project one of the most comprehensive data sets available for UK CAMHS services.

Within community CAMHS, sustained increases in demand have been demonstrated through increased referral rates which have reached their highest ever level this year. Referral acceptance rates have also increased, along with conversion rates for young people who subsequently enter treatment. However, although increased capacity has been demonstrated, demand continues to outstrip supply with increases in young people on waiting lists to access CAMHS and waiting times longer than the previous year.

Investment in the CAMHS workforce is clear. Additional staff are now in post and a record number of contacts were delivered in 2017/18.

In the inpatient setting, length of stay in General CAMHS beds has decreased, though there have been increases in length of stay in Eating Disorder units. Bed occupancy too has decreased in General CAMHS units but increased within Eating Disorders. For Secure CAMHS length of stay has decreased compared to 2016/17.

The inpatient CAMHS workforce has grown marginally this year after several years at a steady state. There continue to be discussion points about the skill mix of staff in the inpatient setting, in particular the seniority of nurses and the range of therapeutic staff compared to community CAMHS.

Incident rates continue to show variation between providers, and these can be explored further in the CAMHS toolkit. Rates of ligature incidents and use of restraint in particular remain areas for concern, as these rates are notably higher than those reported by adult inpatient mental health wards.

We would like to thank the participants who provided their data to this collection and took time to validate positions. Participants have received a bespoke report and desktop toolkit and a summary report will be available online to all members in the coming weeks.

We look forward to working with NHSBN members on the next cycle of benchmarking in 2019.

For more information, please contact Zoë Morris, Programme Manager, zoe.morris@nhs.net.