Extend Capacity

Making the most of what you’ve got…


This Habit is all about making the most of what you’ve got e.g. should I be doing this? Could more of us do this? (Best use of skills). Why am I seeing them again? Do we need this meeting? Are we working to capacity? (Best use of time). It forms part of the ELF that delivers quick wins- much is under your control and you can change things fast.

We only have a certain amount of staff hours to deploy across all the demands on our clinical time. Although obvious, we rarely quantify this and are clear about how much we can do within working hours. This may be compounded by our activity only being recognised if it is direct contact, yet much of our work in CAMHS is non-direct.

We often don’t realise how much the way we use our time has a large effect on how the perceived “demand” uses our fixed capacity. Remember the example that referral to a brief therapy clinic uses a different number of hours compared with a referral to a psychotherapy service? Steve also did an audit in Hertfordshire CAMHS across 8 teams that showed that waiting lists are 4 times more to do with what we do with each case (in terms of number of sessions and duration) than the number of referrals we receive. Knowing what you have and how you use it is the key to extending capacity.


Implementing this Habit will also help you with the following High Impact Changes for Mental Health as well as with others of the 7 HELPFUL Habits:

High Impact Change 5

Avoid unnecessary contact for service users and provide necessary contact in the right care setting

High Impact Change 10

Redesign and extend roles in line with efficient service user/carer pathways to attract and retain an effective workforce

As well as with…

  • Flow Management
  • Process Map and Redesign
  • Let go of families

This section is suitable for both inpatient and outpatient services.

Here are the next 7 items from the 7-HAT…

Making the most of what you’ve got…