10 November 2021

How CAMHS and their service users are making things better, together

By Cath Heaney, Improvement Advisor

In this 10 minute read, learn about the “Making It Better, Together” event held by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and what will be happening next.

 (Figure 1. A copy of the invitation to the event)

On 11th October 2021, the CAMHS directorate held a virtual workshop for staff and service users which was attended by 75 people. The session explored what truly matters to service users and what the ELFT CAMHS teams can do, working together with young people, to improve.

Find out more below about what came out of the workshop which opened to conversations with service users, then moved to breakout rooms hearing a selection of stories shared by staff about CAMHS innovation and improvement. Attendees were then offered help and support from the newly formed Quality Improvers (QI) hub. Then the event closed by asking everyone to identify one thing they feel that CAMHS should take forward, based on what they had heard during the workshop.


Conversations with Young People

A highlights reel (figure 2 below) was created to share this widely.

(Figure 2. The highlight reel of the event)


One service user described their feelings following the event: “I felt valued and heard. Knowing that someone is listening to what needs changing is really good.”


Learning from staff experience of improvement and innovation

Following the young people, seven breakout groups took place where staff talked about a range of topics (figure 3 below).

(Figure 3: Selection of breakout groups run by CAMHS teams)



Launching a QI hub

The CAMHS directorate have formed a QI hub to help make improvement something that everyone in CAMHS can do. They spoke about who they are and invited people to get involved. The poster in Figure 4 gives more information.

(Figure 4. Information about the new QI hub in CAMHS)


Determining next steps

 To guide action following this event, the attendees answered a Mentimeter poll to provide their views. They were asked the question “What one thing should we improve, based on what you’ve heard today?”. The response rate was 44 of the 56 people remaining on the Zoom workshop as the session ended. The pareto chart in figure 5 shows the themes from the responses and the 80% most frequently made suggestions are highlighted with the yellow shading.

(Figure 5. Pareto chart of top suggestions for what to improve in CAMHS)


What happens next

 Since the event took place, the organisers have created an action plan and begun to work towards their goals (as shown in Figure 6 below).

(Figure 6. Action plan from the event, with progress updates)

 All this supports the ambition for CAMHS that their staff offer every service user the opportunity to become involved in making CAMHS services better, together.



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