The importance of having CAMHS professionals in a GP MDT

Over the last few years the success of the GP Child hubs has grown and grown. The concept is simple; to have a group of GP practices come together once a month with a general paediatrician for an MDT and clinic. The aim is to improve not just patient care, but knowledge and relationships within the community. A little-spoken-about part of the MDT is the role the other health professionals apart from the paediatrician have to play in these hubs. In this instance, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) who attend at some of these hubs.

These CAMHS professionals offer a unique insight into the MDT, especially as there is such a growing recognition that children and young people frequently have mental health problems, in fact, 1 in 3 young people have a diagnosable mental health condition. CAMHS professionals have now been present in one GP hub for 18 months so I was interested to see how it had been going.

I spoke to Joshua, one of the CAMHS representatives, and he was happy to report that he feels he now has a much better relationship with the GPs. Having such a good relationship with the consultants who work at the hub also means that he feels the GPs now respect his opinion a lot more and he is able to increase awareness amongst GPs both of the mental health difficulties children and young people face and the services available to help them.

The general paediatrician also reports that they feel that patient care is directly influenced by having Josh there and he makes extremely valuable contributions to the MDT. She also reports there is a sense of group learning as he is able to recommend agencies within communities and schools that otherwise GPs may not be aware of.
At the end of the experience I was really surprised at how much there is to gain from having a mental health input in an MDT and it is something I would highly recommend both in the community and in hospital. The amount that physical and mental health interacts and affects each other is immeasurable and there is so much to learn from both parties. Moving forward my awareness of psycho-social health will definitely be more at the front of my mind when dealing with both children and adults.