Long waiting times for a first appointment at child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are an international problem and one of the main reasons for service user dissatisfaction. A team of Irish psychologists aimed to get around this by adopting a brief consultation and advisory (BCA) model, which gave service users an appointment within four weeks of referral, a second consultation approximately 2 weeks later and a third, follow-up session after 2-3 months. The model is described as a time-limited, client-centred and solution-focused approach to dealing with common, non-complex referrals. A trial of the approach compared 32 children who received care via the BCA model to 28 who received treatment as usual. Both groups showed improvements on a number of variables after 3 months but only those receiving BCA showed continued improvement at 6 months. Participants in the treatment as usual group expressed dissatisfaction with long waiting times and had a higher drop-out rate than the BCA treatment group. The introduction of the BCA approach did not lead to a decrease in overall mean waiting time.
McGarry, Joan ... [et al] - The clinical effectiveness of a brief consultation and advisory approach compared to treatment as usual in child and adolescent mental health services Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry July 2008, 13(3), 365-376