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Keywords:

  • child and adolescent mental health services;
  • cost-effectiveness;
  • early intervention;
  • economic modelling;
  • psychosis

Abstract

Aims

To develop and populate a plausible model of the impact of early intervention (EI) for children and adolescents with psychosis to estimate potential short-term health-related cost savings compared to generic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Method

A decision-tree-based model for EI in CAMHS was developed. The model was populated using data relating to the use of inpatient care and EI service activity for people aged under 18 from an area of North East England. Data were abstracted from the National Health Service clinical reporting systems for 2001–2008. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine costs associated with the model under differing assumptions.

Results

EI delivered cost savings of £4814 per patient compared to care provided by generic CAMHS. Cost savings were predominantly a consequence of reduced length of hospital admissions for patients served by the EI team. The findings were robust to sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that EI services for children and adolescents with psychosis provide potential direct health cost savings comparable to those observed for working-age adults.