School staff and doctors report good progress in Devon for Virgin Care

Virgin Care’s Single Point of Access in Devon is making it easier to access services and get help, with GPs and school staff reporting improvements after the first year of operation.

The single point of access (SPA), a single website, telephone number and address for all referrals and questions about the Integrated Children’s Services in Devon which Virgin Care runs on behalf of the local authority and the NHS, launched in January 2016.

The culmination of more than three years’ work improving services by reducing waiting times despite increases in demand, developing clearer referral criteria and developing and introducing evidence-based ‘toolkits’ for schools, parents and families to use at home and in school, the SPA has led to positive changes according to a recent survey of GPs and schools.

The survey found that 20% more people are using the SPA website now than in 2016 with the majority of people saying they found it easy to find the information they needed. More than half (59%) of those surveyed also said they found the toolkits useful to them, with around 600 copies downloaded each year.

More than three quarters (84%) of respondents said they know how to make a referral to the services, compared to just half who said they did in the last survey in May 2016.

While the feedback was mainly positive, the respondents also asked for further improvements. Adding information about other services available in the area, and more self-help information and toolkits was high on the priority list. GPs and schools also want to be kept more up to date after making a referral about waiting times.

Around 90% of referrals into the services come from GPs and schools, while other families chose to refer children themselves for help using the information online.

Amir Qureshy, Head of Operations for Integrated Children’s Services, said: “Introducing the SPA was the culmination of three years’ work, and we’re very pleased that those people who use it the most have told us that it has made a positive difference to their experience.

“We’ve plenty still to do adding more self-help toolkits and improving the information available online about other services families can access in Devon.”

Parents, children and young people and families can access the SPA’s website at www.devon.intergratedchildrensservices.co.uk.

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