NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group and Halton BC are committed to working together in an integrated way to improve health outcomes for children.
Dave Sweeney, director of transformation at the NHS Halton CCG and the local authority, says an essential part of that integrated working is having a shared entity: in this case, the Halton Children’s Trust.
The trust, established in 2008, is a partnership of public and voluntary sector organisations dedicated to working together to improve the health of local
Mr Sweeney says: “All the key partners are part of the trust: the CCG, the probation service, the police, the local authority, the acute health trust, the NHS
Foundation Trust, and the local mental health service provider. In many ways it almost mirrors the health and wellbeing board, but it is dedicated to children
“From Halton BC’s perspective, because of the integrated support through the Children’s Trust, CCGs, public health and children’s services have an
aligned vision of what we want for children’s early life opportunities.
“We know our common ground and what we need to do. My opposite number at the local authority and I are setting key objectives aligning with both our plans, with particular emphasis on prevention; for example weight management at a very early age means a reduction in obesity and therefore a reduction in diabetes later in life.”
This structure has helped to overcome some of the gaps in services for children’s health, where even staff found it difficult to navigate health and social care
systems, Mr Sweeney says.
“Halton has a younger people’s obesity problem but those numbers are starting to fall because of Halton’s whole-system approach. I am positive that the full integration of public health into the local authority is key to this improvement.
“GPs were faced with children with problems. From a health perspective the varied pathways made it very complicated about which service these childrenshould go to.
“We created a tool to educate GPs across primary care and education services in terms of a simple explanation of psychological services for young
people. Now we have a pathway where a child is picked up as early as possible and treated with a holistic approach. However it has to be noted we still have work to do to make this totally efficient.” This holistic approach means bringing together various services in order to meet children’s needs, including services for the parents of children in poor health.
“There is little point dealing with a child unless you’re going to work with and support the family,” says Mr Sweeney.
“We provide a huge amount of training in parents and guardians, such as through the nationally recognised and fully evidencedbased positive behaviour service. This service provides emotional support for children and families. The courses it runs take the children through therapeutic development but the parents join in, through value-based learning in de-escalation techniques and so on.”
This feature is supported by Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, an LGC & HSJ Integration Summit partner, as part ofour integration series. For more information about next year’s summit, please contact Jenny.Vyas@emap.com.