Virtual meetings to review mental health services for children and young people get under way

Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) clinical lead Dr Guy Northover is about to begin meeting virtually with clinicians and managers across England, looking at the issues facing child and adolescent psychiatric care, identifying good practice to share and discussing improvements that can be made.

Dr Northover – a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – said: “Given the national pressures on child and adolescent psychiatric care it is essential that the crisis and inpatient services are providing the best possible outcomes for children and young people. I am looking forward to learning from the services, sharing best practice and reducing unwarranted variation – all of which are at the heart of the programme.”

The review visits are being held in provider collaborative groups, including both NHS trusts and independent sector organisations. There will 17 meetings in total, with the first being held virtually with the North West London Provider Collaborative on 14th August 2020.

GIRFT’s deep dive meetings will focus on length of stay within adolescent units and the factors affecting this, such as crisis support, intensive community team support and the inpatient model, as well as other themes, including:

Data quality: High-quality, consistent and validated data is essential at all levels, from data collected for a team based project to mandated data collections for the specialist commissioning data sets. Dr Northover said that without this, local quality improvement projects cannot be successful and national recommendations and policy cannot be effectively set. He added: “Collecting and using high-quality data across a large, complex system is clearly crucial for the collaboratives to meet their objectives. Our deep dive visits will explore data quality and collection. We will identify good practice in collecting and interpreting data and support services looking to improve in this area.”

Neuro-disability within the crisis pathway: The review will also be looking at factors around neuro-disabilities, such as autism, ADHD and learning disability, from the support available within inpatient units to the availability of specialist interventions in the community to reduce the frequency and severity of crises presenting to the services. Mental health is one of 41 specialties being reviewed by the GIRFT programme.  There are three separate mental health workstreams looking at rehabilitation, adult crisis and acute services and services for children and young people.

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