The contract for the Medway Young People Wellbeing Service was awarded to the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) and formally commenced on 1 September 2017. This annual paper updates Members on the contract and developments through the Local Transformation Plan for CYP Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing.
Officers introduced the report which updated the Committee on the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Contract and on developments through the Local Transformation Plan.
Members then raised a number of questions and comments, which included:
· Waiting list – officers confirmed that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had provided additional funding to tackle the long waiting lists in relation to the neurodevelopment pathway (for children aged over 11) which had since improved and was being sustained through the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic and activity had in fact increased. Officers across the partnership shared the concerns around this area and confirmed that it was an area with focus for all partners to address the issue across the system and services such as a more enhanced digital psycho-education offer. Officers added that no children under the age of 11 were waiting longer than the national guideline of 18 weeks.
· Crisis presentations – it was confirmed that in Medway this remained a challenge, however Medway was starting to even out and fall in line with Kent wide activity.
· Tier 4 Service – it was confirmed that the Kent and Medway Adolescent Tier 4 Service contract at Woodlands was successfully transferred in April 2020 and transformation was ongoing. This would impact on the crisis offer and would include a children section 136 suite too.
· Kooth – it was suggested that all Members receive a demonstration of Kooth so all Councillors can understand what it was about and its benefits for young people, in their role as Corporate Parents.
· Engagement with young people – officers confirmed that in addition to Medway Youth Council, which was mentioned in the report, engagement took place with Medway Children and Young People Council and other young people groups.
· Additional support through schools – Members welcomed the increase in 18 mental health support workers based within schools and in addition, there was a mapping of all support services available to young people so that the offer could work collaboratively as a system. The mental health support in schools would also be used as one of the main vehicles for developing the wider workforce with the appropriate skills to support children and young people.
· Capacity to manage a potential covid related increase in demand – concern was raised that the pandemic and lockdowns would have a negative impact on many young people’s mental health and whether there was the capacity to manage a real potential in demand. Officers responded, confirming they were acutely aware and ensuring that communication with young people was clear to ensure awareness of what services and support was available. Work was taking place to prepare for an increase in referrals and this was being done in close liaison between commissioners and providers. Officers also stressed that for many children and young people, their anxiety was a normal reaction to a very unnatural situation and was not a mental illness.
· Performance monitoring and validating data – concern was raised about the lack of performance monitoring that had taken place during the covid-19 pandemic. Officers confirmed that the validation of NHS data would ordinarily need to go through a detailed governance process before data was released. During the pandemic, this had been stepped down. Formal contract meetings were time intensive and to respond to the crisis there was a need to provide capacity elsewhere from both commissioners and providers perspective. However, relationships had strengthened in the last year with a more collaborative partnership approach and data was still provided to commissioners on a monthly basis, it just had not gone through the normal validating process.
· Clinical harm review – It was explained that any patient on a long waiting list (awaiting any health treatment) needed a clinical harm review, in case their situation deteriorated. Furthermore, in relation to the suicide and self harm prevention work stream, led by Public Health, this had identified a group of 13-16 year olds who raised particular cause for concern and therefore some additional intervention work took place with those individuals to ensure patient safety.
· Trauma-informed practice – officers confirmed their intention to provide all Members with information on this and would run a member briefing later in the year.
· Gender of patients – in response to a concern raised about the under representation of boys in the service, officers confirmed that there was the same open access for boys and girls and the over representation of girls was mirrored nationally. Nationally, this was being explored and it was also suggested that the next Medway Youth Council’s conference could include this as a strand to explore.
The Committee noted the report.
In accordance with Council rule 12.6, Councillors Cooper, Johnson and Chrissy Stamp requested that their votes in favour be recorded.