Date published: 15 August 2022

A programme of change has started at Mersey Care to review children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMHS) in line with local, regional and national developments. Key stakeholders and partners will be invited to be involved over the next 6 to 12 months, supported by task and finish workstreams to achieve local, regional and national developments and transformation plans.

Reason for change

CYPMHS have been under intense media and political scrutiny with a reported ‘epidemic’ of mental ill health among children and a ‘crisis’ in mental health services. For six years the NHS Benchmarking Network has been collecting data on CYPMHS to build a ‘state of the nation’ picture across the UK. This year’s data provides an important snapshot of CYPMHS and a picture of how services are changing as demand grows.

Unsurprisingly, this year’s report shows a record number of referrals at more than 3,000 per 100,000 children nationwide. This represents a 15 percent increase in just one year (the highest rate of increase of any speciality in the NHS this year).


Mersey Care and local systems have operationalised the iThrive model and this has led to marked differences CYPMHS both in terms of access and treatment and partnership working.

Intended outcome(s)

The aim of the review is to develop a strategy to improve the quality of the patient journey and clinical outcomes, achieve equity, standardisation, and synergy across services. We will undertake a review of capacity and demand to support the workforce and service development - aligning to one leadership and governance structure internally.

Services are currently commissioned by multiple clinical commissioning groups as part of the forming integrated care system. It is imperative that our approach keeps pace and responds to the needs of our patients. We will help people understand how we operate now and our plans and goals for the future, providing reassurance and support throughout.

We will improve links with our stakeholders to support ongoing conversations that link in with local, regional and national strategies and give people the opportunity to be involved in the future of our services and any changes that may affect them.

If you would like more information please email Associate Director of Children and Young People’s Services, or the Operational Manager and Head of Children and Young People’s Services Transformation.

Thank you to all those who attended our engagement and coproduction event on 4 October.

We were pleased to welcome 30 colleagues from the ICB, Local Authority Education, Alder Hey, other trusts and parents.

We discussed transformation plans for children and young people’s services to go up to age 25 years. There were some consistent themes around our wider Thrive model and our workforce and staff; thinking differently to traditional staffing models, an outcome being that we need to carefully understand the how people aged 18 to 25 present to us and what their care should look like.

We discussed various options regarding this model and feedback suggested option 2 (slide 11 in the presentation) was preferred, which we will now map out and build a robust framework around. There will be more engagement in the coming weeks and months to reflect and consider our next steps.

Thank you again for all your valuable feedback. For more information email Lisa Simpson

The presentation from the day can be found here.