Tackling children and young people's health: How ICSs are taking action

Tackling children and young people’s health: how ICSs are taking action

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that ICSs across the country are tackling children’s and young people’s health.

Virtual ward for children with complex needs in North Central London

A virtual ward service for children with complex needs has opened in North Central London, forming part of the North Middlesex University Hospital’s Hospital at Home service and delivered by a team of nurses who can provide acute paediatric care in the community. Patients can also access a range of diagnostic tests such as radiology and blood tests, with portable testing and monitoring from the clinical team.

Anne Biggs, matron for children’s community nursing, said: “We are extremely proud of our Hospital at Home [virtual ward] service at North Mid which now provides twelve virtual beds to our local area which are supported by a team of paediatric nurses attending patients in the community. This means that beds will be available to be utilised by more acutely unwell patients on the wards. This is a long-term initiative which seeks to contribute to the health inequalities of our local populations.”

Partnership between Black Country CAMHS teams and Barnardo’s provides extra support to young people receiving treatment at home

The CAHMS teams from Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with Barnardo’s to offer extra support to young people receiving treatment at home. The aim of the partnership is to reduce length of stay on paediatric wards and provide supervised intervention for children and young people needing home treatment, as well as being “a point of contact between the CAMHS crisis team, acute hospitals and social care”.

108 children and young people were seen by Barnardo’s during the trial, accompanied one-to-one by members of the CAMHS Crisis Intervention/Home Treatment Team. 68 of these “demonstrated a significant improvement in mental health functioning”, whilst 14 “showed a moderate improvement”. Barnardo’s is now able to offer independent project support to acute hospitals emergency departments across the Black Country, thanks to relationships built by working with the trust.

Sarah Hogan, deputy director for children, young people and families, said: “The partnership between CAMHS crisis team and Barnardo’s in the Black Country led to positive outcomes for our children and young people and demonstrates how working collaboratively with organisations can lead to impactful projects that really make a difference. I look forward to seeing how we can continue to work together to help children and young people in the Black Country.”

New Family Ambassador role supports families of young people in mental health inpatient care in West Yorkshire

The first West Yorkshire mental health family ambassador has been appointed to support the families of young people aged 13-18 admitted to mental health inpatient care. Tania Webb’s appointment will see her working with families in the run-up to admission, during a young person’s stay, and for up to four weeks after they leave the hospital.

Tim Richardson, West Yorkshire provider collaborative lead on children and young people’s mental health, said: “Having a child or young person in hospital can be stressful, challenging and confusing. The family ambassador is a role designed to support families and to focus on their needs and wishes, from advising on the best local coffee shops to unpicking the wide range of medical jargon and acronyms!

“For the family ambassador post to be effective, the family ambassador needs to work closely with, but be separate from, the clinical team. This allows the family ambassador to be independent and fully family focussed.”

Four new community neurodiversity drop-in hubs open across Derbyshire to support young people and families

Four new community neurodiversity drop-in hubs have opened across Derbyshire, offering support to young people and their families. The service is intended to provide early support without the need for an assessment of diagnosis, helping to prevent the worsening of conditions for young people aged up to 25.

The four hubs received £200,000 in NHS funding for 2023/24 to cover their first year, and represent a partnership between NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB, Derbyshire Autism Services, Citizens Advice Mid Mercia, and “a range of other charities”.

Nicola Smith, head of children’s commissioning at Derby and Derbyshire ICB, said: “We found that families and carers were often asking for a clinical assessment to support them and then having to waiting long periods for that to happen. However, we also found that they could have received the support they needed from local community organisations much quicker and that this would have met their needs better. These hubs should help to improve quality of life both for children and young people, and for their families, carers, schools and their wider community.”

Refresh of Children and Young People’s Mental Health Local Transformation plan in Northamptonshire

Integrated Care Northamptonshire’s 2023/24 refresh of their Children and Young People’s Mental Health Local Transformation Plan details the region’s progress against national and regional targets, sharing agreed system priorities including coproduction with children and young people, a new online service for young people and their families, and a range of workshops and courses for people to use at home or school.

In 2024, the plan highlights how the ICS aims to ensure that children and young people are better involved in the design and purchasing of services. It also details the launch of a new online service called iDiscover for young people, their families and carers; the service is said to include courses, workshops and information that can be used at home or at school, focusing on helping users to learn new skills and make life decisions.

In other news from ICSs, we took a look earlier this month at how ICSs are adapting new ways of working and adopting new practices to help meet demand.