image to represent CReST, demand and capacity tool

The Children & Young People's Referral Management System Tool (CReST) is a demand and capacity tool. We developed the current version in partnership with NHSE, which supports Children and Young People's Mental Health (CYPMH) pathways.

The current format was developed and launched in 2019/20. The latest update launched in August 2022 and provides an efficient and accessible approach to modelling, maximising outputs and reflecting the current needs of those working in this specialist field.

Watch our introduction to CReST and how it works

CReST represents a bold new step in how CYPMH pathways approach service planning as well as commissioning. Although demand and capacity modelling is not a new concept, it has not been presented in such an accessible format before, particularly in the context of CYPMH. 

Using CReST, services can input some basic data to model their pathways. The tool is very interactive, allowing users to interact with metrics such as waiting time targets, growth percentages, available appointments and more. These allow for scenario testing and enable conversations in live settings.

This modelling coupled with local intelligence means that services can adequately plan their resources and effectively meet what is often increasingly fluctuating demand. 

CReST can help answer key questions when planning demand and capacity. Modelling can also inform commissioning decisions, workforce strategies, strategic planning, operational planning, and decision-making at system level.  For example, colleagues have used outputs in successful business cases, opening conversations with senior leaders and launching new services. 

View a demo of CReST in action

The CReST team can also work with you to provide bespoke demos and one-to-one support as well as help resolve any data queries for input into the tool. 

CReST can understand that demand is often accompanied by considerable variation across any time period. It accounts for the loss of unused capacity and how this may lead to increasing backlogs and increasingly longer waiting times.  

This straightforward approach to demand and capacity makes the concept accessible to everyone. The outputs can be utilised in many different areas, including supporting operational planning, improvement in waiting times and developing new service pathways.

One of the many benefits of CReST is the ability to combine the modelling of both community and inpatient services, providing opportunities for all system stakeholders to collaboratively share and consider the provision across their population using the same language and numbers.  

The tool is hosted on a web-based platform accessible by anyone in the UK working in health or social care including local authorities and voluntary sector. 

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