A public consultation is underway about a long term partnership to deliver a new and more targeted range of public health services for children and young people across North Yorkshire.
A new model for the Healthy Child Programme which will carry on the universal service for children under 5 but will focus on more tailored support for children and young people aged 5-19 and more targeted support for families most in need has been agreed by North Yorkshire County Council Executive.
The Healthy Child Programme is a child and family health promotion programme for children aged 0-19 years. Some of the services within it are for all children, such as health visiting, and some are targeted to those in need, such as child weight management, emotional health and substance mis-use.
The Council currently commissions services from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust who deliver some of the programme on its behalf. The consultation is asking for views on the nature of the Council’s agreement with the Trust.
The Council wants to put in place a formal arrangement with the Trust to deliver the 0-19 Healthy Child Service, which involves entering into a partnership agreement under Section 75 of the National Health Service Act 2006.
Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health explains: “The County Council, which leads on public health, has been funding the programme and working with the NHS Trust for a number of years to provide the service.
“We are now looking to continue that relationship for a longer term of up to 10 years. This will provide the opportunity to transform the way we provide services to children and families, and help closely align the programme with the Early Help Service run by the County Council’s outstanding-rated Children and Young People’s Service, as well as other health services and community support.”
At the end of last year, the Council also asked for views on a new model for delivering the Healthy Child Programme. Although three quarters of the 245 people who responded to the consultation agree that the under-fives should be the focus of the new health programme, along with five to 19 year olds most in need, there were some concerns about the future of services currently delivered under the programme such as hearing and vision screening.
A report, which went before the Executive last month explains that the programme will also work closely with Public Health England, clinical commissioning groups, primary care, NHS hospital trusts, voluntary organisations and community groups to ensure that children and families are supported to access alternative support for those services which will now fall outside the programme.
Suzanne Lamb, Head of Safeguarding (Lead Nurse for Public Health and Quality) from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really looking forward to working with North Yorkshire County Council again to deliver the Healthy Child Programme across the county and are very grateful for the feedback on the new service proposal we have received so far.
“Together with the council we hope to deliver a robust service that will give all children in North Yorkshire the best start in life, focussing on the 0-5s and those most vulnerable in the 5-19 age group. This will also build on a wider ambition to further integrate children's services so families receive the best possible care.
“While the new model proposes a fair amount of change to the service we delivered in the past, we are committed to ensuring the continuation of care and support for children and young people in North Yorkshire and are hopeful this consultation will offer the community the opportunity to have their voice heard and identify any areas they feel concerned about.”
The consultation closes on 7 March 2021.
Subject to the outcome of this consultation, the new service would be scheduled to launch on 1 April with the new partnership in place from this date.