Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
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Urgent referrals

If life is at immediate risk, please call 999

If a referral requires a quick response, please contact 0800 6444 101, stating this is urgent.

Referrals are considered urgent if:

    • Child/Young person is has suicidal thoughts and plans with the intent to act on them
    • Concerns that a child/young person has acute psychosis
    • Concerns that a child/young person has a severe eating disorder, especially if there is rapid weight loss or very low weight.
  • The THRIVE Framework provides a set of principles for creating coherent and resource-efficient communities of mental health and well-being support for children, young people and families.
  • It aims to talk about mental health and mental health support in a common language that everyone understands.
  • The Framework is needs-led. This means that mental health needs are defined by children, young people and families alongside professionals through shared decision-making. Needs are not based on severity, diagnosis or healthcare pathways

Getting Advice

  • This group includes both those with mild or temporary difficulties AND those with fluctuating or ongoing severe difficulties who are managing their own health and not wanting goals-based specialist input.
  • Information is shared such that it empowers young people and families to find the best ways of supporting their mental health and wellbeing.

 Getting Help

  • This group comprises those who need specific interventions focused on agreed mental health outcomes.
  • An intervention is any form of help related to a mental health need in which a paid-for professional takes responsibility for input directly with a specified individual or group.
  • The professional may not necessarily be a trained mental health provider but may be a range of people who can provide targeted, outcomes-focused help to address the specific mental health issue

Getting more help

  • This is not conceptually different from Getting Help. It is a separate needs-based grouping only because the need for extensive resource allocation for a small number of individuals may require particular attention and coordination from those providing services across the locality.
  • It is for each community to determine the resource allocation threshold that defines Getting More Help from Getting Help.

Getting risk support

  • The aim of specifying a category of Getting Risk Support is for all partners to be clear that what is being provided is managing risk ONLY.
  • It is important to note that there are likely to be risk management aspects in all groupings. However, in the context of high concerns but a lack of therapeutic progress for those in this group, risk management is the sole focus.
  • Children or young people in this grouping may have some or many of the difficulties outlined in Getting Help or Getting More Help above BUT, despite extensive input, they or their family are currently unable to make use of help, more help or advice AND they remain a risk to self or others
Why might I make a referral?

A referral might be made for a request for an assessment or intervention for children/young people who seem to be experiencing an emotional health difficulty which is impacting their day-to-day functioning for 3 or more months. It is likely you will have tried other forms of self-help, but the difficulty is still present.  Usually, community-based interventions, e.g. support through school, would have been tried first. 

How to make a referral (1)

Phone SPA on 0800 6444 101
Complete the PDF referral form and email it to hpft.spa@nhs.net

Referrals will be read on the same day of referral by a team of CAMHS clinicians at Single Point of Access (SPA), and decisions will be made about what is ‘routine’ or ‘urgent’ based on the information you provide.

Some parents and young people will be contacted to book a “triage phone call” so we can gather more information to aid our decision about which service is best suited to support the young person and their family. Our aim is to ensure that each referral gets to the right place in a timely way.

Once a decision has been made, you will receive a letter informing you of the outcome of your referral. This may include offering an episode of care within CAMHS or signposting to local services that are better suited to meet your needs. A copy of the clinical decision-making will be sent to you and copied to your GP for continuity of care.

If you have any concerns regarding the outcome of your referral or do not think you have been sent an outcome, you can call SPA to discuss this. Equally, things can change quickly after a referral has been made, so please do phone SPA to update them if things have got worse and you are concerned or if things have got better.

What information do I need to make a referral?

The following information can help us process your referral:


What is the current problem.


How is the mental health difficulty impacting on the child/young person day to day life? E.g. school, home, work, relationships.


What else is going on around the child/young person and what systems may make these difficulties more intense? E.g. family mental health, abuse, bereavement, illness, neurodevelopmental concerns


How long have these difficulties been occurring for?


Is the child/young person at risk to themselves or others?

Who can refer?

We would expect refers to have met the child and have consent from the child and/or family for the referral to be made.

Examples of people who may refer are:

  • Self-referrals (generally from a parent of a young person or from young people aged 16yrs or above. If SPA receive a phone call from a young person aged below 16, they will agree a way forwards with the young person whilst considering their Gillick Competence and any arising risk issues).
  • Parents/carers
  • GP’s
  • Voluntary sector professional
  • School professionals
  • Paediatric professionals
  • Social Care colleagues
  • Private health care professionals

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