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Are parents and children satisfied with CAMHS?

  • F. McNicholas (a1), Udo Reulbach (a2), Sarah O. Hanrahan (a3) and Manas Sakar (a4)



Client Satisfaction with services is an important predictor of health care seeking, treatment compliance and health status outcome. Given that both parents and young people may have different views of services offered, this study examines both perspectives with respect to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Ireland.


Following ethical approval, the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire-8 (CSQ-8) were sent to all open cases attending three urban CAMHS. Returned questionnaires were received from 426 (280 parents and 146 adolescents) giving a response rate of 49%.


No significant differences were observed between parents and adolescents regarding general satisfaction with CAMHS (Mann–Whitney U-test; Z=−0.255; p=0.799) with a range of good and excellent ratings between 77.1% (for the extent that program met user’s needs) and 93.1% (for recommendation of program to a friend). Significant positive associations were found between age of child (Spearman’s ρ=0.159; p=0.017), receiving a diagnosis (Mann–Whitney U-test; Z=−2.14; p=0.032), frequent attendance (χ 2=8.74; df=3; p=0.033) and living in close proximity to the service (χ 2=9.24; df=3; p=0.026). There was a strong negative correlation between reduction in impairment and levels of satisfaction (ρ=−0.44, n=275, p<0.000). Waiting time or duration in service were not associated with CSQ and 53% (145) requested clinic opening hours outside of 09:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m.


Regular user feedback, a robust and distinct measure of service quality, will ensure the development of effective, accessible, client-centered and responsive services, which can evolve in partnership with families and young people.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Prof. F. McNicholas, MD, FRCPsych, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12 and St. John of Gods, Lucena Clinic, Rathgar and University College Dublin, Ireland. (Email:


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