"Long wait for children's services in St Helen's"

About: CAMHS Team St Helens / St Helens CAMHS

(as the patient),

My daughter was referred to CAMHS last year. She was assessed at the beginning of February. We were told verbally that there would be a bit of a wait, and she probably wouldn't be seen again until April. They were very apologetic about this, but I thought that was OK.

In March we received written confirmation that it 'may take a few months to provide a date' for the appointment.

It is now the middle of May. We've had no further contact from them and my daughter made comments that they'd forgotten about her, so I thought I'd give them a call.

They've said she's still on the list, but it's taking a while to get appointments at the moment. I had to ask her for an estimate - she suggested it won't be before July.

Two comments -

1) Why couldn't they keep in touch so we don't have to guess what's happening? Don't they understand how people feel when they're just kept waiting? We were told April - why am I having to phone in May to get told it won't be before July?

2) Why won't it be until 'at least July'? A six month wait for children's services is unacceptable. What is the cause of such a delay?

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Response from Patient Opinion We have made a change

"Thank you for your posting about the CAMHS service and I am sorry about the wait you have had for your daughter to be seen. It has been a particularly difficult time for the service with a number of staff vacancies that it has taken some time to fill. Unfortunately that has had an impact on waiting times although I am pleased to say that we have now made progress and I am expecting the times to come down.

You make a very good point about communication regarding waiting times and as a result I have now written to all people on the waiting list to keep them informed about waiting times. We will now make sure this happens on an ongoing basis, as a service we strive to both respond to feedback and also communicate well.

On a general point, I sympathise with people waiting a long time for a service we are constantly trying to bring waiting times down with the resources available."

Thanks again for your feedback.

Debbie Garner

Locality Manager St Helens Camhs

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