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Wakefield CAMHS programme of transformation

Adapting to continue to support children, young people and their families during the pandemic

The CAMHS service has improved its support for children, young people and families in Wakefield over the past few months. This has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic but has been a journey that began before that - in October last year.

Since then, CAMHS teams have focused on a programme of transformation known as ‘the CAMHS improvement plan’.

Significant funding was received into the service to reduce waiting lists and allow recruitment where the need for more capacity and support was identified.

As a result of this, the service has been able to reach a number of milestones.

Among them has been the expansion of the Wakefield CAMHS crisis service in January 2020 that saw the service move to seven day working, alongside operating longer hours and working in new ways. These changes have helped people access urgent support easier.

The achievements of the CAMHS improvement plan are also evident in statistics from between October last year and April this year that showed:


• a 72 per cent reduction in the number of children and young people waiting for assessment
• a 63 per cent reduction in the number of children and young people waiting for treatment, following an assessment
• waiting times for core CAMHS reduced from 59 weeks to 23 weeks.

Examples in specialist CAMHS included:


• Waiting times for art psychotherapy reduced from 74 weeks to 17 weeks
• Waiting times for family therapy reduced from 51 weeks to 15 weeks.

Staff case stories also highlight how members of the team have been able to offer crucial support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the service’s Consultant Clinical Psychologist’s said:

 “I have recently started to work with a young person with diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). He was very anxious about meeting me and talking to me about his problems or talking to anyone. Feedback from him and my experience of him were that he was surprised he was able to talk to me so easily on the phone; That it was really helpful.

“Other young people have commented on how me emailing them worksheets that build up on sessions content is very helpful. It has allowed them to try the techniques and feedback on them. For me, this allows the young people to be much more involved in the therapy and recognise the key role they play in it.

“All parties have accepted that the sessions are different and there has been no negative feedback. Young people and families recognise that we are providing the best possible service we can in a variety of different ways to meet their needs.”