A revealing new report released today by Healthwatch in Greater Manchester shows the findings from a project which gathered the experiences of families using the Healthy Young Minds Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Combining surveys of parents and professionals as well as focus groups with parents of young people who have used services, the report highlights the experiences of those in Oldham, Trafford, Bury and Rochdale.
More than 300 responses to the surveys, 19 focus groups and one to one sessions provided a significant amount of feedback to identify where the system was failing those who used it and what it was doing well.
Key findings included:
Overwhelming concern within the comments about access; the difficulty of getting a referral, the waiting times following referral, and thresholds being considered too high for acceptance.
- A combination of factors including difficulty in accessing services, very long waiting times, frustration with professionals, poor communication over extended periods, a lack of ongoing support, made some parents feel they had to turn to private consultation.
- When children were thought to be, or were on, the autism spectrum (ASD) this caused difficulties in getting the right diagnosis, treatment, and support.
- Both parents and professionals felt timescales for referral and acceptance were long.
The CAMHS project was carried out across the areas in Greater Manchester where the CAMHS was provided by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust as the ‘Healthy Young Minds’ service. Data gathered by the local Healthwatch organisations covering those areas showed there was some regional variation between the boroughs.