The CWTCH project, which offers innovative video consultation to patients and clinicians has been officially endorsed by RCPsych Wales.
The initial pilot in Aneurin Bevan UHB, supported by The Health Foundation, offered young people who self-harm, or who live with an eating disorder, the option of remote assessment through a virtual online clinic, in the company of family members.
The technology is now being rolled out by child and adolescent mental health services, and GP surgeries in supporting Welsh Governments COVID-19 response.
Further information: COVID-19
- The Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething has approved the national roll-out of video health consultations, as part of Welsh Government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Health Minister says GP video calls key in continuing healthcare services while fighting COVID-19.
- Health Minister announces a further £2.8m to be invested to extend video consultation to all of secondary and community care.
The pilot project
Young people who self harm or have eating disorders in Gwent faced long waiting times for assessments due to travel distances between paediatric wards and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) teams.
This project from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board aimed to address this issue by using telepsychiatry – delivering psychiatric assessment and care through videoconferencing. The aim was to be able to offer young people admitted to hospital with self harm or eating disorders the choice of a specialist assessment and safe discharge planning by the CAMHS team via videoconferencing, as an alternative to face-to-face contact.
The innovative approach allowed CAMHS to input into case reviews and multidisciplinary team meetings, and provide better support to paediatric staff in hospital wards, especially those dealing with resistant and difficult cases. It also offered the opportunity for psychiatrists to assess patients when a senior opinion was required.
Staff were trained to use telepsychiatry and to feel comfortable interviewing patients using this method. Patient information leaflets were developed, alongside guidelines for staff on issues such as consent, interview setting and management, and back-up arrangements for if technology fails.
In announcement of the endorsement; Professor Keith Lloyd, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Wales said:
"We're delighted to endorse the CWTCH project; the innovation has led to savings in efficiency, economy and environment, whilst maintaining quality in patient engagement.
The innovation exemplifies Welsh Governments aspirations around health transformation and technology, as identified within 'A Healthier Wales', and we're excited to support it's development and timely application."