Scotland’s approach to improving access to psychological therapies and child and adolescent mental health services
Authors: Kirsty Ellis (Improvement Hub), Dan Harley (Improvement Hub), Joseph Adams (ISD), Gavin MacColl (ISD) and Olivia McDougall (Improvement Hub)
Providing mental health support and treatment to people when they need it is an essential part of health care. In Scotland, we have set up a new
national Mental Health Access Improvement Support Team (MHAIST) with the following aims:
• to improve the waiting times of patients requiring psychological therapies (PT) and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), and
• to improve overall patient, family and carer experience of CAMHS and PT.
MHAIST is a multidisciplinary team of Improvement Advisors, Clinical Advisors, Data Managers and Information Analysts. We support CAMHS and PT services to improve quality and access by using improvement methodology. Support to NHS boards includes developing data capability to measure and demonstrate improvement.
MHAIST uses Appreciative Inquiry to map how the service is provided and how clinical work flows through the system. Our data analysts and improvement advisors gather and analyse qualitative and quantitative data to describe how the system works.
• MHAIST has engaged with all of the 28 CAMHS and PT services across 14 NHS boards.
• Each NHS board has a MHAIST analyst embedded within the service to help support their data needs.
• Teams have benefited from improved data visualisation (Figure 1), released time and activity trackers for clinical staff.
• We are supporting the development of networks for both CAMHS and PT communities.
MHAIST has provided NHS boards with the potential to easily access both improvement expertise and data analyst resource to support improvement of patient care. To date, this has resulted in a greater understanding of what is required to facilitate change in a complex mental health service landscape.