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Views sought on how to deliver public health services for children and young people

Posted on: Monday 26 Oct 2020

A consultation is being launched on how to deliver a range of public health services for children and young people across North Yorkshire.

Healthy child consultation graphic

The Healthy Child Programme is a child and family health promotion programme for children aged 0-19 years. Some of the services, such as health visiting and school nursing, are for all children, and some, including supporting emotional health and managing substance misuse, are targeted to those most in need.

North Yorkshire County Council currently commissions services from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, which delivers the main elements of the programme on its behalf.

The council and partners need to find new ways to deliver the Healthy Child Service in the face of a national reduction in public health funding.

Members of the public are now being invited to give their views on the proposals.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, said: “In North Yorkshire, we are managing a reduction of up to £4m in our Public Health funding from Government over the next few years. We will protect the Healthy Child Programme as much as possible and reductions to these services will be less than the overall cut to the Public Health Grant. We will have a universal and targeted service for children and it will continue to be our biggest single area of expenditure in public health.

“The Healthy Child Programme forms one part of a number of children and young people’s services commissioned and provided by the County Council, the NHS and other partners in the county. Overall, these services provide robust support to help young people in North Yorkshire have the best start in life and grow up well.

“We will continue to deliver health checks for children under five years old and will continue to support new parents with a focus on those children and families most in need. All new babies will have a face-to-face visit from a health visitor, as they do now. Depending on the family’s needs, further visits will be either face-to-face or online.”

The proposals for consultation include:

  • Mandatory visits to families with children under five at key child development stages will be co-ordinated by a qualified health visitor.
  • At-risk under-5s and their families will continue to be prioritised, as they are now, with face to face visits where needed;
  • Learning from how services have operated under Covid-19 restrictions, introducing a blended approach of face-to-face and online contact for families, based on robust assessment of the child and family’s needs;
  • More integrated support from agencies across the health, education, social care and voluntary sector for children to be ready to learn and to address developmental concerns in children and young people;
  • A partnership approach to the prevention and management of risky adolescent behaviour, including prioritising and improving emotional health and resilience;
  • Effective identification and management of the safeguarding of children and vulnerable parents or family members.

Stuart Carlton, North Yorkshire’s Director of the Children and Young People’s Service, said: “Because we know that the foundations of a healthy life are set in the earliest stages of childhood, we’re proposing to target resources on supporting children under five.

“National policy related to providing the best start in life provides further evidence that increasing investment in children aged 0-5 years can have a positive impact on emotional wellbeing and school readiness. Improvements in these areas will support lifelong positive outcomes.

“We also want to give young people the tools they need to look after their mental health and navigate their way to adulthood; that’s why our proposals for a new way of delivering the service include a focus on emotional resilience for young people.”

Suzanne Lamb, Head of Safeguarding (Lead Nurse for Public Health and Quality) from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Ensuring that effective services continue to be delivered to children, young people and families in North Yorkshire is our priority and we are pleased to continue delivering these in conjunction with North Yorkshire County Council.

“We know this is a challenging transitional period, with the added pressures brought by Covid-19, but we hope that the public consultation will provide an opportunity for our service users, partners, communities as well as colleagues at the Trust to share their views on the proposed service offer. We are keen to hear from as many as possible to ultimately work together to continue to ensure we provide excellent Healthy Child Services across North Yorkshire.”

To read more about the details of the new proposal you can visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/healthychild. People can give their views on the proposals by filling in the online survey before the consultation closes on 4 January, 2021.

Feedback will be considered by the County Council’s Executive, as well as its Scrutiny of Health Committee, and by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust Board, before any final decision is made.

Subject to the outcome of this consultation and due consideration, it is proposed that the new service would begin on 1 April, 2021.

The council is hosting online events where people can hear more about the proposals and ask questions before filling in the survey. Unfortunately, face-to-face events are not possible due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The dates and times of the online events are:

  • 3 November 2020 at 10:30 am
  • 4 November 2020 at 6pm
  • 5 November 2020 at 1:30pm
  • 6 November 2020 at 10:30 am
  • 17 November 2020 at 10:30 am
  • 18 November 2020 at 6pm
  • 19 November 2020 at 1:30pm
  • 20 November 2020 at 10:30 am

Register for an event.

Copies of the consultation information will also be available at your local library during the consultation and the information can be requested in a different language or format by emailing healthychild@northyorks.gov.uk.