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A major new CAMHS working model may have slipped under the radar last Summer as we have not heard a lot about it. But on 7 January 2019 an Oxfordshire CAMHS service published in their local newspaper, Banbury Guardian, that they are encouraging family self-referral direct to CAMHS.This was mentioned by Andrea Shand, Head of Service for Oxfordshire CAMHS, speaking at an event for The Community Partnership Network, although the first announcement of this came in July 2018 as the NHS marked its 70th anniversary.

Andreea Shand said: “CAMHS used to take referrals only from professionals such as GPs, teachers and social workers. Now young people, families and carers can refer and receive support from professional and administrative staff including being passed on to a 24-7 emergency service. We are conducting hundreds of calls every month offering self-help strategies and signposting to alternative services if it’s not CAMHS. Our website accepts referrals directly into our computer system from young people, families, carers and professionals. The GPs in Oxfordshire have a direct link into our system. All requests for service are reviewed by a CAMHS mental health practitioner.”
She said this was part of a ‘significant transformation – . a “single point of access where children can refer themselves; or their families or carers can ask for help.”

Ellern Mede welcomes that CAMHS will signpost to other services. At Ellern Mede, we welcome all callers and we do the same – signpost them to whatever service might be best able to help, including charities such as the BEAT Helpfinder website or helpline. Considering the degree of need for eating disorders advice and help, we believe every bit of help promotes early intervention that can save lives.

The psychiatry interventions of the future may well include at least some AV or telephonic consultation. The latest NHS plan announced on 7 January proposes that up to a third of GP consultations could be provided audio visually. Ellern Mede already holds conference sessions connecting for example, a clinician and patient at Ellern Mede Ridgeway, a specialist doctor at Ellern Mede Barnet and a family at their home anywhere in the world. As a Tier 4 service, inpatient therapy and treatment is provided directly, however connecting the patient with family is very important and digital technology has opened up a world of possibilities for health communication.
Oxfordshire CAMHS has also said that it plans to pilot tele-psychiatry as well as ‘online’ cognitive behavioural therapy. It is also leading outreach training for school teachers in eating disorders and self-harm as well as other conditions. They hope this will improve waiting lists for treatment and get best use of NHS capacity.

This is all very much to be welcomed and we congratulate this organisation for this forward thinking innovation.

Our comment is on Banbury Guardian’s original article.

See the original announcement of the Oxfordshire plan.