Bringing CAMHS closer to home: Developing community pharmacies to support medication monitoring in children and young people Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

  • Led by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Aimed to improve care for children and young people (CYP) with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related conditions.
  • Trained local community pharmacists to carry out physical monitoring of these patients, providing a more convenient service for families as well as freeing-up child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) resources.
  • Project ran from March 2016 to August 2017.

Children and young people (CYP) who are prescribed medication for ADHD and related conditions need regular monitoring of key metrics (height, weight, blood pressure and pulse).

Nationally, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) teams are struggling to meet increasing demands on their services. In addition, service user feedback suggests that families want locally delivered services.

This project used community pharmacies to provide physical monitoring of CYP on ADHD medication, rather than the CAMHS clinic. Consenting families selected a pharmacy to have their key metrics measured at a convenient time. The results were available to the CAMHS team via a secure website. 

Previously, some patients were being seen when there was no clinical need, others were unable to get more intensive support, and monitoring targets were being missed. For many families, clinic appointments meant their CYP was missing school unnecessarily and the parent was missing work.

The project has seen increased numbers of patients engaging with medication monitoring, and receiving improved quality of care closer to home. The clinic is also more compliant with NICE guidelines for medication monitoring. Of the 153 CYP eligible, 137 (90%) were actively involved in the project. All audit outcomes relating to medication monitoring and review improved dramatically because of the project. 

It is estimated that 40% of the CAMHS team’s resources were released to provide more input to those with greater needs. Important success factors were having a cohesive project team, co-designing with key stakeholders and carrying out a mini-pilot prior to starting the project.

Funding has been secured to maintain this new service at the New Forest CAMHS clinic and it is the Trust’s intention to roll it out across Hampshire and Sussex, pending new funding.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Dr Subha Muthalagu, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, New Forest CAMHS.

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