Positive Practice Awards
Positive Practice Awards

Single Point of Access, Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Partnership in Practice


Our bronze winners have demonstrated exceptional team work during a period of extreme pressure, whilst always keeping patients and families at the centre of everything they do.

The Single Point of Access (SPA) Service is the first point of contact for all referrals into Hampshire CAMHS. 

Our SPA operates three area teams across the county, providing advice, consultation, liaison and early therapeutic assessment and intervention to families, children and young people. They also offer support to children's services, schools, GPs and hospitals.

The role is very busy and stressful, and staff deal with risky and challenging referrals, responding to high levels of distress and emotion with compassion and professionalism. 

Over the last six months they have seen a significant increase in referrals to CAMHS, as mental health difficulties become more highly recognised and impact on ever greater numbers of young people.

To try and address the challenges the three teams came together to work as one, sharing ideas and developing ways to improve response times to help reduce the back log and ensure all families were supported.

They worked under a sustained level of pressure for a number of months, putting in extra hours and generally going above and beyond to ensure that waiting times did not get any longer, that existing waiting times for those who had already been referred into the service were reduced, and to support those who had already been waiting longer than the service would wish. 

Their dedication has brought waiting times to within the services target and they continue to work together to develop new ways of working. 

Feedback from families is positive, and they regularly comment on the helpfulness of staff offering ways to understanding, manage and supporting their child whilst they are waiting for an appointment. GPs have reflected how useful it is to know what services they can offer a young person. 

In explaining why they deserve to win, their nominator said: ‘The team has shown unfailing energy, flexibility within their other work demands, commitment, compassion to families and each other, passion for the work and they have been absolutely amazing in their determination to ensure all families have received a compassionate, thoughtful and appropriate response. Their hard work and loyalty to the service deserves to be recognised, honoured and celebrated.’

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