"Relationship Development Intervention"

About: South West London And St George's Mental Health NHS Trust / Child and adolescent mental health

(as a relative),

My GP referred by child for an autism specific programme, assessment for which was to take place outside the PCT area - as is common. The accepting PCT is the only place that provides this service in the UK, so was a necessary referral. My PCT agreed to the first stage funding for assessment and checks. My child took part, travelled to clinic on many occasions, was seen by several experienced professionals. It was not easy and opened up emotional difficulties. Finally it was agreed by the specialists that my child was a good candidate for therapy and they recommended he should receive it. That was years of waiting over - until Wandsworth PCT refused to commission the actual therapy, despite commissioning the assessments for the therapy. What a waste of money for the NHS if they don't follow through. What a lack of concern about my child's needs.

My local CAMHS service were asked their opinion. They had done so little CPD they had never heard of the therapy or my child. The commissioning manager had never heard of it either, and so blocked it, despite not being a medically qualified person. The service's handling of my concerns was uncaring and lacking in sensitivity.

Not only did the PCT not agree to fund, they also didn't offer anything else in its place, so my child now has nothing at all.

I have put in a complaint (again, yet another), but of course it takes months and all the while my child is not getting help. The receiving PCT have done no more, because they are not funded to do it. Nor do they offer it as a private service.

This is yet another decision made on non-clinical grounds and also smacks of some kind of professional 'nose out of joint' behaviour from CAMHS. I have been told their immediate response was why should my child get 'special treatment' over and above other local kids and they could offer an equally effetive treatment. However they have not offered anything and should be ashamed that I as a parent seem to know more than they about what is an established and growing therapy in the UK. Yet again parents are at the cutting edge of research and therapies for ASD and it's seems the NHS just drag along behind until they are forced to sit up and take notice.

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Response from Sue Denby, Head of Quality Governance, Quality Governance, South West London and St Georges

picture of Sue Denby

Thank you very much for your feedback and I am sorry for the lengthy delay in responding to you. We now have a new Patient Experience Team developing feedback mechanisms and we will be responding to all reviews in a timely manner as we want to act positively to make improvements to our services. Thankyou for taking the time to tell us about the distressing time you and your child experienced. I believe that we have learnt quite a lot since you posted your feedback. For just over a year our Trust has been leading a programme of incremental change within CAMHS in order to address issues highlighted by GPs, commissioners and families during extensive stakeholder feedback events. We have engaged with many patient groups and youth councils in the development of the new model and will continue to do so. It may be helpful to know that we believe some services (for eating disorders, for assessment of suspected autistic spectrum disorders/attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and services for complex learning disability) are better provided by teams of expert staff. This will be a centralised service provided locally that will allow all children across the Trust to access specialist skills which will not be dependent on where they live. Please let me know if you would like to know more about these changes and I can put you in touch with the appropriate people.

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