Research - key referrers required (including SENCOS) - National institute for health research to improve the referral process for camhs

Posted 01 February 2022

Nicola Preston at the University of Northampton is on the steering group for a project being led by Kathryn Abel from University of Manchester on a National Institute for Health Research to improve the referral process for CAMHS

Research Summary:

More than 260,000 children in the UK were referred for clinical help to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in England in 2018/2019; this number has risen steadily for the last five years. About one quarter of children referred to CAMHS by their GPs, schools or parents are rejected for treatment by services because the correct referral process has not been followed. This is clearly distressing for children and families who may wait a long time for an appointment at CAMHS and are turned away without necessarily being signposted elsewhere. The process is also very costly to services because time is wasted reviewing documents and following up with referrers about children who should have been referred for alternative help.

We aim to understand what the difficulties are in making referrals to CAMHS services. We want to improve the quality of referrals to CAMHS services so that only children and young people who can be helped by CAMHS are referred; and so that others can be guided to receive help thIf anyone is interested or would likeey need elsewhere.

We shall consult extensively with key stakeholders across 12 focus groups to clarify the criteria for referrals to CAMHS and to understand the barriers to making appropriate referrals. We shall analyse the CAMHS referral data to understand problems in the CAMHS referral pathways. We shall aim to identify with stakeholders potential sustainable solutions to the current problems.

If anyone is interested or would like more information and dates of upcoming groups, please contact the team at: 



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