Since 2013, we’ve been working hard to improve Children’s Services in Devon.
We passionately believe that everyone should feel special and valued when they come into contact with our service. Whether that’s you, your child, your patient or just someone you know.
Back in 2013, commissioners in Devon asked us to make things better for children and colleagues by improving outcomes, delivering care earlier and making it simpler for everyone to access the services; to invest in technology to make the services more efficient, to improve quality and safety and to empower children and young people.
We’re still on that journey today, but we’re proud of what we’ve already achieved. This is a peek at how we’ve made sure that Devon feels the difference.
Seeing Children project
Back in April 2013 when we first took on the services in Devon, more than 1,300 children with additional needs had been waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment across all of the services – with some waiting as long as two years.
We started the Seeing Children project just a few months after we began delivering services, reviewing and validating the waiting lists we’d inherited, increasing the number of appointments we were running through increased numbers of colleagues and ensuring robust tracking of families’ waits is in place.
Since then we’ve made significant progress , despite continuing demand growth – and we’re still going.
Investing in technology
We began trialling iPad-based mobile working for our public health nursing service (that’s health visitors and school nurses) in November 2015 and this has now been fully rolled out across the county.
The system, based on a platform we’ve worked with extensively elsewhere in England, has allowed us to give nurses better access to scheduling and medical record data without a trip to the office, and has already meant almost 30 forms no longer need to be completed on paper. Almost 250 of our colleagues have been involved in helping us develop, roll out and test the platform.
Let’s Talk More
Since we began delivering Speech and Language Therapy Services
demand had risen by more than 20%.
Our Let’s Talk More programme has helped children receive more appropriate support earlier by training our colleagues across the health economy to better identify problems and provide lower-level interventions themselves, while we up-skilled health visitors and colleagues at Children’s Centres to provide more support themselves.
We introduced self-help toolkits and screening tools for our professional colleagues and families to better understand young people’s difficulties and support them through the early stages.
After a few months, 75% of children on the pathway were meeting the development levels we expect and 25% of children who were waiting for treatment for low-level conditions are now receiving more appropriate support.
Creating a single point of access
Our Single Point of Access gives everyone in Devon a single phone number, address and email to contact all of our services – whether they’re asking a question, providing us with more information or referring someone to us. We launched clearer referral criteria for all of our services and continue to work on brand new, innovative website to help young people, families and professionals access self-help toolkits and know how to get the help they need – without seeing a GP, if they want.
Health visiting in partnership
Click here to read about our innovative health visiting in partnership scheme.
Baby friendly Devon
The Baby Friendly accreditation from Unicef and World Health Organisation is respected across the country and world as the standard of excellence in supporting families.
We’re very proud that we’ve been reaccredited as Baby Friendly, with inspectors pleased that we’re not only supporting mums through our regular services but also some of our innovative projects to bring that support closer to families.
Our partnership with LloydsPharmacy means we can offer one-to-one support for mums referred by their GP or Health Visitor from the High Street in Devon, rather than a hospital clinic. After a successful trial in Exeter, we’re rolling the service out to 9 more branches around Devon.
Keeping young people at home, with their families through assertive outreach
Our Assertive Outreach service, which we developed and introduced in 2014, is helping to keep more children and young people requiring mental health support at home.
The team works alongside our Child and Adolescent Mental Health service, who continue to deliver interventions in the community, to support up to 30 young people with severe cases of anxiety, depression and emotional dysregulation which would otherwise require a hospital admission at home, and safe.
The service has the potential to save the NHS around £5m a year in mental health bed costs, when running at full capacity, and has significantly reduced the number of mental health beds being used by children in Devon from around 30 at any one time to around ten – and reduced length of stay for those who are admitted by 35%.