The children’s mental health services provided by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have been cited in a report published by England’s healthcare inspection agency due to their ‘outstanding’ quality.

The Trust’s child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) – which are delivered across Derby and South Derbyshire – were one of six CAMHS community services nationwide praised in a Care Quality Commission report issued, entitled ‘The state of care in mental health services 2014 to 2017’. This reflects the support offered to local young people to improve their health and wellbeing, through services based within their local neighbourhood.

The report presents findings from the Care Quality Commission’s programme of comprehensive inspections of specialist mental health services. The inclusion of Derbyshire Healthcare’s CAMHS services comes following an inspection published in September 2016 which showed that the services were outstanding in terms of being ‘caring’ and ‘responsive’, and outstanding overall.

This follows several significant changes and improvements to CAMHS services, made possible in part thanks to additional financial support and commitment in children and young people’s services from local health commissioners. These changes include:

  • The establishment of direct working arrangements with partners such as GPs, providing them with advice on how best to support young people who come to them with mental health problems – a model of care that has significantly reduced waiting times compared to the majority of other providers nationwide
  • The use of ‘talking therapies’ across the CAMHS community teams in Derby and south Derbyshire – the Trust has been developing these for six years as an early implementer of the CYP IAPT initiative (Children and Young People – Improving Access to Psychological Therapies)
  • The involvement of young people and parents in shaping the service – through a parent participation group and young people’s participation group, and by employing a former service user to be a consultant and ‘expert by experience’ within the team
  • The introduction and implementation of child-centred outcome measures – where children and families set their own goals, and the CAMHS team help them to achieve those
  • The creation of a 24-hour CAMHS liaison team (called CAMHS RISE) within the Royal Derby Hospital – giving immediate support to young people who have attempted suicide or seriously self-harmed
  • The close integration in 2016/17 of CAMHS services with other child health services such as school nursing, health visiting and paediatricians.

Carolyn Green, Director of Nursing and Patient Experience at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very pleased that the health regulator has referenced our outstanding children’s mental health services in its report today. The mental health and wellbeing of young people is high on the national agenda at the moment, and rightly so – because we know that what happens in our early years can have an impact on our health throughout our lives.

“Our CAMHS staff, in collaboration with children and families and with other health professionals, have worked extremely hard in recent years to transform the care they provide and increase their focus on clinical outcomes. While there are still further improvements that can be made, the people of Derby and south Derbyshire should be reassured that they are getting one of the best CAMHS services in the country. I would like to thank CAMHS colleagues for their commitment to our community, and our Derbyshire commissioners for recognising this important need and supporting our teams.”