From referral to discharge: Young people and parents' experience of a systemic paediatric psychology service

Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2016 Apr;21(2):297-307. doi: 10.1177/1359104515589639. Epub 2015 Jun 18.


Objectives: The paediatric and adolescent clinical psychology service at the University College London Hospital provides age-appropriate services to young people up to 19 years of age under the care of a hospital consultant. This short report describes how young people and parents experience what we provide as a systemic paediatric psychology team from referral to discharge.

Method: A semi-structured questionnaire was designed to gather service user perspectives on the systemic clinical psychology service. The questionnaire included open and closed questions to generate qualitative and quantitative data about the different stages of the treatment process.

Results: A total of 44/79 families discharged in the previous year were contacted by phone. The majority of young people and parents were happy being called to discuss the referral before being offered an appointment and liked the way in which the psychologist worked with the family. The majority of young people and parents reported their situation had improved as a result of the work offered by the psychology team. Negative aspects of the experience reflected the realities of service driven constraints including having to travel a long distance for the appointment, lack of rooms and having to be discharged at 19 years of age.

Conclusion: Service user feedback is imperative to providing a high standard of care. This study highlighted positive experiences of a systemic service and indicated areas for future improvement that we are attempting to address.

Keywords: Systemic; experience; feedback; outcomes; paediatric and adolescent psychology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / standards*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / standards*
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Parents*
  • Patient Discharge / standards
  • Referral and Consultation / standards