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The provision of 24-hour specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) is a key target for service commissioners. However, a lack of data exist on models of service delivery or levels of need for out-of-hours specialist CAMHS to guide service development. We aim to describe a model of 24-hour service provision and provide information on the demand for and outcome of assessments of a service in Dublin, Ireland, using a 6-year retrospective case study design.
A total of 468 emergency presentations occurred during the study period; 80% presented with self-harm or suicidal ideation. Two-thirds presented outside of working hours. All presentations received a specialist CAMHS consultation. Over 50% required admission to a paediatric ward and 80% required onward referral to specialist CAMHS.
There is a need for a 24-hour specialist CAMHS and this allows increased rates of specialist assessment and onward referral for a high-risk group.
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