Introducing telepsychiatry in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

This project is under way, and will run until March 2020.

  • Project led by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
  • Aiming to reduce waiting times for young people admitted to hospital in Gwent with self harm or eating disorders.
  • Will use telepsychiatry to offer specialist assessment and safe discharge planning by the CAMHS team via videoconferencing as an alternative to face-to-face contact.

Young people who self harm or have eating disorders in Gwent currently face long waiting times for assessments due to travel distances between paediatric wards and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) teams. 

This project from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board plans to address this issue by using telepsychiatry – delivering psychiatric assessment and care through videoconferencing. The aim is to be able to offer young people admitted to hospital with self harm or eating disorders the choice of a specialist assessment and safe discharge planning by the CAMHS team via videoconferencing, as an alternative to face-to-face contact. 

This innovative approach will allow CAMHS to input into case reviews and multidisciplinary team meetings, and provide better support to paediatric staff in hospital wards, especially those dealing with resistant and difficult cases. It will also offer the opportunity for psychiatrists to assess patients when a senior opinion is required.

Staff will be trained to use telepsychiatry and feel comfortable interviewing patients using this method. Patient information leaflets will be developed, and guidelines for staff on issues such as consent, interview setting and management, and back-up arrangements for if technology fails or patients become distressed.

The introduction of telepsychiatry has the potential to provide an efficient service that saves time, reduces cost and decreases stress for patients and staff. The project will be evaluated by measuring clinical outcomes, uptake and engagement, and staff, patient and carer satisfaction. If successful, it will provide evidence to support the rollout of telepsychiatry to other teams.

Contact information

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

About this programme

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Innovating for Improvement

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