7. Screen Referrals Directly

Do you avoid making to many judgements based on the referral letter about who a family needs to see/what they need?

Do you offer a first appointment that focuses on offering informed choice to users i.e. CHOICE?!

Do you provide educational materials/videos etc at the Choice (first appointment)?

Do you provide written feedback to the family and referrer with a few days of the Choice (first appointment)?

It much easier to decide what a child or young person needs if they've been seen


Trying to decide what a family needs from a referral letter is not easy yet systems such as classic triage simply identify appropriateness and urgency. A Choice appointment combines triage with a change focussed, motivational enhancement and solution focussed experience of the realistic choices available to the family, based on their needs and wishes.

Ideas for Action

  • Offer the family an initial appointment that focuses on choice.
  • Centre on working with where the family are at, what skills and resources they already have and their hopes for change. This approach ensures families benefit from specialist CAMHS experience even if redirected to more appropriate service.
  • Establish systems where you can see families quickly and directly. Support this process by information leaflets, brief intervention techniques and rapid feedback to family and referrer.
  • If the family is then going to access your full service ensure next appointment is fully booked at this first appointment.
  • Ensure rapid written feedback to the family and referrer. Added Bonus: educates referrer.