WH&Y authors: Professor Philip Hazell

Citation: Hazell P, Sprague T, Sharpe J. Psychiatric hospital treatment of children and adolescents in New South Wales, Australia: 12-year trends. BJPsych Open. 2016;2(1):1-5



Background: It is preferable that children and adolescents requiring in-patient care for mental health problems are managed in age-appropriate facilities. To achieve this, nine specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in-patient units have been commissioned in New South Wales (NSW) since 2002.

Aims: To examine trends in child and adolescent in-patient admissions since the opening of these CAMHS units.

Method: Analysis of separation data for under 18-year-olds to CAMHS, adult mental health and paediatric units for the period 2002 to 2013 in NSW, comparing districts with and without specialist CAMHS units.

Results: Separations from CAMHS, adult and paediatric units rose with time, but there was no interaction between time and health district type (with/without CAMHS unit). Five of eight health districts experienced increased separations of under 18-year-olds from adult units in the year of opening a CAMHS unit. Separations from related paediatric units increased in three of seven health districts.

Conclusions: Opening CAMHS units may be followed by a temporary increase in separations of young people from adult units, but it does not influence the flow of patients to non-CAMHS facilities in the longer term.

About The Authors


Philip Hazell is Conjoint Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with the Sydney Medical Schoo...