Report to:

East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)


Date of meeting:


29 June 2023


Assistant Chief Executive



Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) update



To provide the Committee with an update on the CAMHS service in East Sussex and the services for Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health.


The Committee is recommended to:

1)    consider and comment on the report; and


2)    identify if there are any areas it wishes to scrutinise further and add to the future work programme.


1.            Background

1.1.        The Committee has a long-standing interest in mental health services for Children and Young People (CYP) and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

1.2.        The Committee has expressed a particular interest in the specialist CAMHS services, and Members have received representations from residents about the waiting times for referrals to this service and in particular the time it takes for assessment and diagnosis to be undertaken for Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

1.3.        The HOSC considered a report providing an overview of Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health services, which includes CAMHS specialist services, at its meeting 3 March 2022. At that meeting, the Committee requested a further update at its 22 September 2022 meeting on CAMHS with particular emphasis on the progress being made to reduce referral and assessment waiting times for the various services provided by CAMHS and in particular those children and young people waiting for referrals and assessment from Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and eating disorders. Members also requested the report cover the use and impact of additional investment in CAMHS on service provision and performance.

1.4.        At its September meeting the Committee requested another update report be brought to this meeting, covering progress on the waiting times for CAMHS, including progress on the development of the neurodevelopmental pathway, and how long young people wait between assessment and the beginning of treatment.

1.5.        This report provides an overview of the strategic approach to improvement for children and young people’s mental health and well-being services and actions being taken to improve access and reduce waiting times for services. This work is being done within the local and national context of an increase in the emotional and mental health needs of children and young people, which has meant significant increases in people needing these services. 

2.            Supporting information

2.1.        The report, which is attached as Appendix 1 provides the requested update on CAMHS. It has been prepared by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) and NHS Sussex. It covers:

·         Foundations for our Future – Children and Young People Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy and Local Transformation Plan (2022-27)

·         SPFT CAMHS service update, including actions to manage increased need and reduce waiting times

·         Neurodevelopmental Pathway Development

·         Update on the Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) in schools programme.


3.         Conclusion and reasons for recommendations

3.1       The report provides an update on the areas requested by HOSC at its September 2022 meeting. The HOSC will wish to consider whether there are any areas it wishes to scrutinise further and add to the future work programme.


Assistant Chief Executive

Contact Officer: Patrick Major, Scrutiny and Policy Support Officer
Tel. No. 01273