Making sense of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS): An audit of the referral journey and the use of routine outcome measures (ROMS)

Naomi Gibbons, Emma Harrison, Paul Stallard

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Background: There is increased emphasis on the national reporting of Routine Outcome Measures (ROMS) as a way of improving Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). This data needs to be viewed in context so that reasons for outcome completion rates are understood and monitored over time. Method: We undertook an in-depth prospective audit of consecutive referrals accepted into the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) CAMHS service from November 2017 to January 2018 (n = 1074) and April to September 2019 (n = 1172). Results: Across both audits 90% of those offered an appointment were seen with three quarters completing baseline ROMS. One in three were not seen again with around 30% still being open to the service at the end of each audit. Of those closed to the service, paired ROMS were obtained for 46% to 60% of cases. There were few changes in referral problems or complexity factors over time. Conclusion: Understanding the referral journey and the reasons for attrition will help to put nationally collected data in context and can inform and monitor service transformation over time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Early online date11 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2021


  • audit
  • commissioners
  • mental health
  • referrals
  • ROMS
  • service evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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