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Although we often talk about how many referrals we receive as if that is our demand, actually demand is not the number of referrals. Each referral is a request for a clinical service and so the demand is the number of clinical hours we provide. It is interesting to realise that demand relates closely to what we do.

For example, a referral to a psychotherapy service is a demand for, say, 50-100 hours of clinical time, whereas a referral to a brief therapy service is a demand for 3 to 4 hours clinical time. What we do that partly determines the size of the demand.

The notional demand is the time taken per case multiplied by the number of referrals. The actual demand is less than this and only includes those families that attend. Those that never come do not actually create a demand. Although if you chose to have a waiting list they certainly create stress as, until they don’t come, we worry that they all will!

Example 1: Anytown CAMHS receives 800 referrals per year. Due to their 6-month waiting list only 60% actually book in. Each referral on average receives / needs 9 direct clinical hours until discharge.

Demand = 800 x 60% = 480 referrals x 9 hours = 4320 clinical hours.