• Staff told planned pilot no longer going ahead
  • SABP expects to look for other partners in different geographies
  • Pilot originally meant to go live in October 2017

A planned new model of care pilot for child and adolescent mental health services in Kent, Surrey and Sussex has been quietly shelved.

Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust – which was leading on the pilot’s establishment – told staff at Christmas it was no longer going ahead. No public announcement appears to have been made.

The pilot, which would have involved NHS England devolving money and decision making for tier four CAMHS to local organisations, was meant to go live in October 2017. This was delayed until October 2018 before the partnership ended.

Of all the proposed pilots, it would have had the largest number of independent providers involved, in addition to SABPFT and Sussex Partnership FT. These were Elysium Healthcare, Huntercombe Group, Priory Healthcare and Cygnet Health Care.

Some of the private providers have run into quality issues since the pilot was announced in June 2017. For example, Cygnet Health Care has closed one CAMHS unit in Woking and another at Sevenoaks has been heavily criticised by the Care Quality Commission. Priory Healthcare has also been fined over the death of a CAMHS patient at its Ticehurst House hospital in Sussex.

SABP said the pilot was dropped for a number of reasons. These included its “connection with other geographies in the region,” sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems playing a stronger role in systems management, and the merging of NHS England and Improvement to create regional boundaries.

“The result of all this change is that we now feel a Kent, Surrey and Sussex partnership is not the most appropriate for all the parties and therefore we are ending the partnership,” it said in a message to staff.

“Conversations are ongoing about which geographies make the most sense for a revised CAMHS tier 4 partnership.”

HSJ reported on Friday that NHSE wanted to set up provider collaboratives, covering CAMHS. NHSE’s new care models programme director Stephen Firn is also a non-executive director at SABP.

The CAMHS new models of care were aimed at reducing the need for inpatient care and ensuring that, when it was needed, there were places closer to home. Partners were offered the chance to control the tier four budget and potentially invest any savings on inpatient beds in wider mental health services.