The impact of a needs-based model of care on accessibility and quality of care within children's mental health services: A qualitative investigation of the UK i-THRIVE Programme

Joanna Farr, Anna Moore, Hilary Bruffell, Jacqueline Hayes, John Rae, Michael Cooper

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Background: The i-THRIVE Programme is a needs-based model of care, based on the THRIVE Framework, that is being implemented across the United Kingdom with the aim of improving outcomes for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing. This study aimed to investigate the impact that this programme has on accessibility and quality of care, as viewed by key stakeholders.
Methods: Interviews with professionals and service users were conducted during the implementation of the THRIVE Framework in four sites of one mental health and community service provider.
Results: Three themes are identified: ‘impact of needs-based groupings on referral’, ‘impact of collaborative and interagency approach’ and ‘impact of i-THRIVE on clinical practice’. Findings suggest that accessibility was seen to be promoted through the integration of a needs-based approach, flexible re-referral, signposting and information sharing, the use of goal-orientated interventions and collaboration over risk and treatment endings. Shared decision making was perceived to improve the experience of care for young people, as was interagency working. Goal-focused interventions and upfront discussion of treatment endings were seen to help clinicians manage expectations and discharge but could also compromise effectiveness and engagement. Obstacles to impact were resistance to interagency working and a shortage of resources across the system.
Conclusions: i-THRIVE is a promising approach with the potential to facilitate the accessibility and quality of mental health care. However, a tension exists between enhancing accessibility and quality of care, which points towards the importance of outcome and satisfaction monitoring. Obstacles to impact point to the importance of a whole-system approach supported by sufficient resources across the locality.

© 2021, The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Early online date18 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • i-THRIVE programme
  • needs-based approach
  • service innovation

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