• Run by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
  • Aimed to reduce travel, time and carbon costs for young people and mental health professionals attending Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) appointments in Gwent.
  • Used telepsychiatry to deliver psychiatric assessment and care through videoconferencing via a secure communication platform as an alternative to face-to-face contact.
  • Delivered between January 2019 and March 2020.

Gwent is a widely spread county in Wales where attendance at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) appointments by patients and mental health professionals often involves significant travel, time and carbon costs.

This project from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board aimed to address this issue by using telepsychiatry – delivering psychiatric assessment and care through videoconferencing – as an alternative to face-to-face contact.

Video consultations were offered to young people at their home, school or clinic via the commercial fully secure communication platform ‘Attend Anywhere’. As the project evolved, the acronym ‘CWTCH’ (Connecting with Telehealth to Healthcare and Communities), which is Welsh for hug, was adopted.

The CWTCH team’s agile response to barriers such as staff reluctance, safeguarding, risk governance and technological challenges resulted in young people having remote access to mental health care and support comparable to in-person provision.

Rigorous evaluations identified significant savings in terms of time, travel and carbon footprint, along with high levels of satisfaction, acceptability and suitability from patients, families and clinicians.

The major impact of the CWTCH project has led to the adoption of telepsychiatry into routine care in the CAMHS team. The CWTCH Toolkit for rapid and systematic implementation has been endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wales, and could potentially be used in any vulnerable population or complex area of clinical practice.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Welsh Government has embraced the CWTCH video consulting model nationally as its solution to protect the NHS and public while delivering health care safely, and intends to continue funding this as a permanent option.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Dr Alka Ahuja, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

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