Greg met with the Head of the new CAMHS Service, Simone Button, to find out what progress is being made on reducing waiting times and making the service more accessible to families.
In September, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust took over the CAHMS Service in Kent & Medway, promising to take a 'community model' approach. Children suffering from mental and emotional health problems will be provided with earlier intervention and reduced waiting times for support, as well as benefitting from treatment provided closer to home.
"I have been campaigning to improve mental health services for children and young people over the last two years so I was very keen to find out how the new CAMHS service is doing.
"Simone Button told me that waiting times for a first appointment were, on average, 30+ weeks when they started. This has now been reduced to 24-26 weeks and their aim is to reach 4-6 weeks by April next year. This is a very welcome and ambitious target, and I have asked to be kept updated on progress with this.
"She also told me that they are hoping to deliver at least 80% of services locally – in community centres such as GP surgeries and schools. I also understand that families will be offered a much greater choice of appointment times i.e. at weekends and in the evenings, and that out-of-hours crisis teams will provide much-needed support for families.
"It's early days but this seems to me to indicate the right approach, especially on reducing waiting times. But I won't take anything for granted and I will be keeping a close eye on how things progress."
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