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When our service users come to us for help, we want to ensure that we can get them on the best course of recovery as soon as possible. Our West Sussex Single Point of Access team helps us achieve this for young people accessing our service. We spoke to Candy Orozco, a Senior Clinician in our CAMHS Single Point of Access service, about her role and what a day in the role is like.


Tell me a bit about your role?

I am currently the (Locum) Senior Clinician for the recently launched CAMHS SPOA service. I have been in this role for 12 months, prior to the service launch I was responsible for the triage of all referrals, any complex referrals were also then reviewed by the previous MDT Triage Panel that was in place.


What is a typical day in your Senior Clinician role?

A typical day is not a typical day (laughs), but my main responsibilities are to lead the team huddle every Monday and Friday morning, in the absence of our Team Manager, Yvette Pinnell. The huddle involves a check-in with the staff (their wellbeing, caseload, referral queries, etc.). I then will allocate daily tasks as needed, i.e. 1-2 clinicians to screen all incoming referrals for risk, safety calls that have been handed over, triaging of routine referrals.

I review the daily report of our caseload to pick up on anything outstanding that may have been missed or needs to be handed over due to staff absence (annual leave/sickness, etc.)I support the triaging team throughout the day with clinical/triage queries to be able to signpost to the most appropriate service. I also support admin with any email queries they received about referral outcomes, or advice that referrers are seeking. I hold a caseload as well of referrals that I triage, routine and urgent, which includes making safety calls to young people and their families, or other professionals as needed. And all the associated admin tasks with triaging i.e. Carenote documentation, onward referrals to other services, and emails.

The level of intensity of the day can really depend on the number of referrals we receive and the associated level of risk with each one of them.


What would you say makes your role different from any other at the trust?

One of the main differences I believe in my role is the importance of knowing about all of the services not just within CAMHS but in the community, along with having the clinical experience to be able to identify a mental health need versus emotional wellbeing that is impacted by life events or systemic issues. We have to be able to provide a "mini" clinical assessment and make decisions in a short amount of time.

Within the SPOA, we take clinical information into consideration as well as environmental factors to be able to assess whether there is a mental health need requiring CAMHS or more appropriate for community support, like social care for example, for systemic/environmental factors that need to be addressed first.

Psychoeducation to families and professionals around emotional wellbeing and mental health is also an important part of our work within SPOA. Families can sometimes feel they are not getting the right support because it wont be CAMHS that offers it, but once we can explain the difference between mental illness and needing emotional support, they are able to feel supported and that they are with the right service.


You work as part of our West Sussex Single Point of Access team, which helps direct young people to the right mental health service. How crucial is it to provide young people with the correct service the first time?

There are several reasons why it is imperative to get the young person the right support the first time. We want to avoid any delays in preventative support to ensure that things do not get worse for the young person. We also want the young person/family to feel supported, listened to and understood, and getting them the right support, along with taking in their preferences, helps with that and, in turn, supports future engagement with services.


Why is working at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust different from any other place?

Working at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust is similar to other places in that we follow the same NICE guidelines and clinical standards, however, there is a feeling of wanting to modernise access to mental healthcare and a genuine spirit of community and teamwork in getting that done.


If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing on your first day, what would it be?

Hold on to your hat; it's going to be a bumpy but rewarding ride! 


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