Making a referral

You can refer to SPA by telephoning 0300 777 0707 between 08.00 and 19.00 or by fax: 0300 777 0808 or email: hpft.spa@nhs.net  Please also feel free to use the Mental Health helpline on 01438 843 322 between 1700 and 0800.

Is it an emergency?

There is no CAMHS specific emergency service – if this is a life threatening crisis, get the young person to the nearest A&E – once admitted, the local CAMHS crisis service will be contacted and come out and make an assessment and take things from there.

Making a referral

HPFT now has a central referral point called the Single Point of Access (SPA).  SPA is open from 08.00 to 19.00 to take referrals and offer advice to professional with concerns about the mental health of children and young people. Once SPA have enough information they will make sure that the young person is linked to the best service to help. 

In order to make sure that the young person gets the right help, at the right place, at the right time, it is important that we get enough information to help us work out if we are the best place to help or if we should signpost the family to another part of CAMHS. 

The best way to make a referral via SPA is by telephoning 0300 777 0707 between 08.00 and 1900 or 01438 843 322 between 1700 and 0800.

Referrals can also be made in writing to: 

Single Point of Access
Trust Head Office
99 Waverley Road
St Albans

What to put in a referral?

We know you are very busy and time is precious but a good referral saves everyone time in the long run and prevents families going to the wrong service and then having to go elsewhere. Professionals have told us they do not want a referral form and prefer to write letters – here are some helpful things to include in a referral letter:

Information about the young person or child:

  • Name, Date of Birth, Address, GP name and address, NHS Number (if you know it)

  • Something about their family – who do they live with?

  • Where do they go to school?

Information about the problem:

  • Describe the problem or symptoms  - give examples if possible

  • How long has the problem been around?

  • How big is the problem? Is it there all the time? Does it come and go? How much does it interfere with the person’s life and those around them?

  • Are there any triggers to the problem or something that happened around the time the problem started?

  • What are your thoughts about the problem? What leads you to think it is possibly a mental health problem? What other ideas do you have to explain the problem? What other services have you considered?

  • Risk – is the young person actively suicidal, are they self harming (give examples of what and when and how severe), are there any safeguarding risks (if so contact children’s services)

The family and young persons views

  • What are the young persons thoughts about the problem?

  • What are the families’ thoughts about the problem?

  • What are the wishes of the family and young person? What do they want?

  • What are there thoughts about the referral?

Other peoples view:

  • Also add any information from other people who know the child well e.g. school, school nurse, social worker etc. Other's who know the child well writing, separately or sending a report is always very helpful to back up a referral.

What help has been tried already:

  • What has been tried already to help with the problem?

  • What has the family tried?

  • What has the schools tried?

  • What has the other tiers of CAMHS tried?

Anything else

  • Do not be afraid to add information that you are not sure if it is relevant – usually more information is best! 

If you want to discus the case before referring, you can contact SPA on:

  • Phone: 0300 777 0707 between 0800 and 1900 hours  or 01438 843322 between 1700 and 0800 hours

  • Fax: 0300 777 0808

  • Minicom: 0300 777 0909

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A - Z of mental health conditions.

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CAMHS Dictionary

Confused by all the names associated with CAMHS?