As the Auckland Writers’ Festival approaches I am looking forward to going to hear Atul Gawande, a surgeon, academic and author of books such as “Being Mortal:what matters in the end”, “The Checklist Manifesto: How to get things right” and “Complications: A surgeons note's on an imperfect science”. For those of you who haven’t read his books, I recommend them. They are for us all. I think what typifies his work is his thoughtful approach to real and common problems affecting people seen in day to day clinical services.
The “Checklist Manifesto” addresses a simple problem, making mistakes, with a simple solution, a checklist. It has led to profound changes in safety. Addressing the problem of waitlists in CAMHS services led Steve Kingsbury and Ann York to develop CAPA. Like the checklist described by Dr Gawande, CAPA takes a problem, comes up with a pragmatic solution that has been introduced widely, and, like the checklist, has been done with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success.
As we mourn the loss of Steve, and acknowedge his contribution, I have been wondering what other important and obvious challenges we have in child and adolescent mental health services and how we might follow the example of Steve and Ann, and of Atul Gawande, and come up with practical approaches to deal with these. It is often the simple things right in front of you that make the difference. I am putting on my thinking cap. I will keep you posted. It would be great if you did the same. Let me know of any great ideas. Happy autumn everyone.