Healthwatch Surrey escalates concerns about Children and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS)

17th November 2017

Concerns about the issues children, parents, carers and guardians are facing in getting timely access to mental health services have been escalated to councillors by the local independent watchdog for health and care.

Having already raised the issue at senior levels in the local NHS, Healthwatch Surrey have today (17th November) sought support from local politicians on the issue.

Evidence and Insight Manager, Matthew Parris presented to the Children and Education Select Committee:

“We continue to hear from people reporting that they and their children cannot get timely access to support with Mental Health, in spite of £2.3m additional investment two years ago, which promised to address the issue.

“This additional investment, representing a 30% increase in funding, has not resolved the issue and so what confidence can local people have that the problem will now be addressed.”

One case study highlighted to councillors was of a mother who told Healthwatch that her son, who had ADHD and ADD, found that his referral to CAMHS was ‘lost’ for two months, before then waiting for an intervention for months and ended up in a mental health crisis at school.

Healthwatch Surrey also told councillors that:

  • Issues around CAMHS is a common theme in the 3,000 experiences gathered by the watchdog each year.
  • A Healthwatch Surrey project earlier this year with a local school identified that some children felt they did not know where to go if they felt anxious or worried, particularly out of school.
  • An ongoing consultation on Healthwatch Surrey priorities found overwhelming support from local people to address the issue of early intervention in mental health, with a number specifying dissatisfaction with CAMHS.

Councillors have asked Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who run the CAMHS services, to put together an action plan about how they are going to specifically address waiting times and will have to report back to the Children and Education Select Committee when it next meets in February.


If you have an experience of Children and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS), please contact our helpdesk on 0303 303 0023 or text 07592 787533. You can also email Thank you.