We began offering assessment and intensive treatment in the home, GP surgery, school or even a cafe

Camden and Islington primary care trusts' adolescent outreach team was set up in 2002 because young people with severe and complex needs were being admitted to private sector adolescent units for lengthy periods.

Aside from the cost, this was unsatisfactory for the patients.

We began offering assessment and intensive treatment in the home, GP surgery, school or even a cafe. Our mix of staff from psychiatry, psychology and social work supported by outreach workers were able to address the needs of patients who may have learning difficulties or substance misuse issues too.

We provide assertive outreach, psychosis early intervention, CPA care co-ordinaton, early intervention for under-18s and hospital inreach work.

All referrals are seen within two weeks, with urgent referrals seen within three days. The team can maintain contact for three years, making sure the transition into adult services is managed well.

Assessing our performance is key and we have consistently cut the number of bed days in hospitals. Surveys have showed that patients' families value the ease at which they can access the service, the short waiting times and our ability to help young people at home.

We work closely with schools, social services, the voluntary sector, inpatient units and Connexions, sharing protocols and systems.