Difficulty getting referrals and poor communication among issues found in new report on Children’s Mental Health Services in the area

A revealing new report released today by Healthwatch in Greater Manchester shows the findings of a project to find out what experiences of using the Healthy Young Minds Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) was like.
Magnifying glass graphic

Combining surveys of parents and professionals as well as focus groups with parents of those that had been in the system, the report highlights the experiences of those in Trafford, Bury, Rochdale and Oldham.

More than 300 responses to the surveys and 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.

This report gives an insight into the real experiences of the families of those who have been in the children and adolescent mental health service and shows that there is lots that could be done to improve things. There are positives as well as the negatives and many have found it to be an invaluable service, but there are clearly opportunities to do better. We are very grateful for the assistance of Healthwatch Rochdale volunteers as well as partner organisations that worked with us to enable us to gather so much information, but we are especially grateful to the parents who often had to relive some their experience of what they had been through with their children. Without their honesty, this report would not have been possible
— Kate Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Healthwatch Rochdale

Read our report to find out more.


If you need this report in a different format, please contact us. 


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