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"Lack of psychologists"

About: Perth Children's Hospital / Eating Disorders Program - Clinic K

(as a parent/guardian),

There seems to be an increasing lack of availability of psychologists supporting children and families using the Outpatient Eating Disorders Program - Clinic K.

In my experience, the wait time to be scheduled to see a psychologist can be 1-2 months and once connected with a person, appointments are difficult to schedule due to availability. In particular, appointments outside of school hours are very hard to schedule.


Response from Karen Curtis, Director, CAMHS, Perth Children's Hospital 2 weeks ago
Karen Curtis
Director, CAMHS,
Perth Children's Hospital
Submitted on 31/03/2021 at 19:19
Published on Care Opinion on 01/04/2021 at 10:05

Dear ms7567,

Thanks for your feedback regarding the availability of psychologists through the Eating Disorder Service Outpatient Program. I am sorry to hear that your child has been unable to access a psychologist when you feel they need one. I would like to invite you to contact our team at / (08) 6456 0032. The team does triage their resources based on a number of factors, and having some more information about your child and their situation will help us to have an informed conversation about what the next steps might be.

What you have been experiencing is likely to be the result of a very busy service. More people have needed help for an eating disorder since COVID19 pandemic arrived, which has meant our clinical services have been stretched. Various strategies have been employed to recruit more skilled eating disorder clinicians to help our busy team. If you are concerned you or your child has been negatively impacted by our wait times, please contact us via details above, so we can arrange a leadership review of your child’s care in light of their unique circumstances.

I want to acknowledge your thoughts about our outpatient clinics and the times these are available. Most outpatient clinics at Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) occur between 8:30am and 5:00pm, meaning most appointments occur during school hours and the few available appointments after school fill up quickly. I acknowledge this has an impact on busy families such as yours. It would be great to be able to offer an extended service out of hours, but that is not possible at the moment unfortunately. Mentioning to clinic staff that you would prefer appointments early or late in the day on your next visit, might also help minimise the disruption to your child’s school day.

If your child is experiencing a mental health crisis, the CAMHS Emergency Telehealth Service is available to help. Anyone can call and receive urgent mental health advice for free without an appointment – parents, carers, relatives, schools and other health professionals can receive free advice. The service is led by a Psychiatrist and mental health assessments are done via Telehealth.

The CAMHS Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) is available between 8:30am and 2:30am, 7 days a week by calling 1800 048 636. The CAMHS ETS provides urgent support to children, young people and families experiencing a mental health crisis. This includes mental health advice, crisis management, assessment and referral to the most appropriate service depending on the young person’s unique needs. The ETS also offers telehealth follow-up appointments for children and young people who have used the service. Please see the CAHS website for more information.

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience. I wish you and your family and child all the very best in their recovery.

Kind regards,

Karen Curtis

Director, CAMHS, Perth Children's Hospital

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