Weekly political news round up – Friday 8th November 2013

November 8, 2013 in News by Whitehouse

Update on Children and Families Bill

The Grand Committee of the Children and Families Bill has concluded debating the special educational needs (SEN) clauses of the Children and Families Bill this week, with no specific discussion about continence issues.

Discussions have ranged from the issues over how children are supported in early years settings, the role of social care in the new system, the accountability of local authorities for their local offers and the assessment process for children and young people for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), which look at the needs that a child or young person has within education, health and care.

Alongside the Bill, the Department for Education and the Department of Health are jointly consulting on the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice, which briefly notes that joint commissioning arrangements must include all provision which has been assessed to support children and young people with SEN, including continence supplies. It also notes that the local offer must include information about health profession for children and young people with SEN, including continence services. This consultation closes on Monday, 9th December 2013.

Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety announces consultation on paediatric healthcare services

The Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) has announced a consultation on the paediatric healthcare services provided in hospitals and in the community. While continence is not directly mentioned, appendix A includes a list of specialised paediatric services including neurology and urology.

The consultation follows a review of healthcare services in relation to the interface between hospital and community services for children and young people (from 0-18 years) over the next ten years starting from 2014. This review was steered by a review team led by the Department and composed of healthcare professionals.

The key recommendations from the report include:

  • Recommendation 1 – Information and support should be regularly reviewed in order to ensure the right information and support is available to children and parents so that they can be actively involved in decisions about treatment and care, including self management.
  • Recommendation 2 – The Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency should work with GPs and other primary care and community care services to further improve access to primary and community care for families for those conditions which are more appropriately managed outside secondary care settings.
  • Recommendation 3 – The needs of children as well as adults should be recognised in developing services for people with long term conditions, including transition to adulthood.
  • Recommendation 4 – There should be a development of a regional paediatric network, which should be constituted as an operational network, similar in role and function to the Critical Care Network for Northern Ireland. This will promote equitable access and maximise inpatient capacity.
  • Recommendation 10 – Every child who is admitted to a paediatric department should be seen by a paediatric practitioner at speciality training level 4 or equivalent within four hours of admission and by a consultant within 24 hours of admission.
  • Recommendation 11 – There should be a clearer distinction between general paediatric services and specialist (tertiary) services.
  • Recommendation 17 – The Health and Social Care Board, the Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Trusts working with the paediatric network should put in place a “step-down” programme of care to facilitate the earlier discharge of children with complex health needs into their local community.
  • Recommendation 19 – The Department should work with regional medical, nursing and allied health professional training providers to ensure that workforce planning and training reflect service needs for children.

The Department has issued a four question consultation asking:

  1. Whether the review provides a firm assessment of the needs for paediatric healthcare services provided in hospitals and the community over the next 10 years;
  2. Whether the enablers for change detailed for paediatric services are appropriate or if there were others;
  3. Whether the 23 recommendations detailed in the Executive Summary were adequate;
  4. Whether there were any important issues that were not addressed that should have been.

The deadline for responses is Friday 31st January 2014.

NHS England calls for written evidence on NHS England Strategy for Innovation, Health and Wealth

The NHS England Innovation Team has issued a call for written evidence on the NHS England strategy for Innovation, Health and Wealth (IHW), which succeeds the previous Department of Health strategy published in December 2011.

In April 2013 responsibility for Innovation, Health and Wealth was passed to NHS England. NHS England has thus initiated a review of IHW to understand what has worked and what has not and why.

They have asked for input into the following three questions:

  1. Have you seen new innovative ways of delivering services introduced in your local NHS in the past two years? If so, have you an example?
  2. What do you think is missing and should be included?
  3. How do you feel your voice could be heard if you have an idea to help deliver new ways of working locally?

Forthcoming NHS England event on future of specialised services

NHS England is holding an event in London, in partnership with the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, to discuss the “future of specialised health services” and how they are to be provided by the NHS over the next five years.

Feedback from the event will be used to inform the development of a five-year strategy in which NHS England aims to set out how specialised services are best provided to improve the patient experience and outcomes, with the background of the financial challenges facing the NHS, and increased demand.

The event will take place in London (location tbc) on the 9th December 2013. We have been informed that places are limited and individuals who wish to attend should email dorothy.chen@shca.info. However, we understand that there will also be the opportunity to make written submissions, and NHS England will publish details of this in due course.

Answer to written questions

Several written questions on support parents and/or carers of disabled children were answered this week:

  • Labour MP Kerry McCarthy has received a response to her written question asking the Health Secretary what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support for parents or carers of disabled children; and whether he would discuss with the Education Secretary steps to improve assessments of these carer’s needs.

Care Minister Norman Lamb responded that he had discussed this issue with Children’s Minister Edward Timpson in the context of both the Care Bill and the Children and Families Bill. He added that policy on supporting disabled children and their families laid with the Department for Education, rather than the Department of Health.

  • Labour MP Kerry McCarthy has received a response to her written question asking the Education Secretary what assessment he had made of the provision of needs assessment for parents or carers of disabled children and the availability of support for such carers.

Children’s Minister Edward Timpson responded that the Department was satisfied that there is a strong framework of support in place, in terms of legislation with the Children Act 1989, and in terms of the services provided by local authorities.

He added that the reforms outlined in the Children and Families Bill, along with wider reforms in education and health, would strengthen the current system for children and young people with special educational needs, including those who are disabled.