Reading Borough Council joins up services to improve outcomes for children and families

Children's Centre Health-2

CHILDREN and young people and their families across Reading are set to benefit from a new joined up service which aims to give them the best start in life and beyond.

Reading Borough Council is commissioning a new service which comes into effect on October 1st 2017. This new service will combine health, education and early help services to provide integrated and accessible local support. The age range will cover pre –birth to 19 years. For young people with Special Educational Needs, the support will be available up to 25 years.

The new service will be provided by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which has already demonstrated its track record in the delivery of Public Health Nursing in Reading. They will be responsible for delivering the Healthy Child Programme for 0-19 years (HCP)   – a national public health programme for children and young people. The HCP sets out good practice for prevention and early intervention services. The trust will be delivering a range of health services to families with children under five. They include health visiting, parental support, as well as providing a range of school-aged children with support around mental health, sexual health, drugs and alcohol and healthy weight.

The new and targeted way of working brings together Public Health Nursing Services 0-19 (25), health, and the work of Children’s Centres and other early intervention services, with the collective aim of improving the health of children and families across Reading.

Families can find out more about the service and how to access support on offer by visiting the Reading Services Guide at: http://servicesguide.reading.gov.uk/kb5/reading/directory/home.page

Councillor Jan Gavin, Lead Councillor for Children’s Services said:

“Through putting in place an integrated health visiting and school nursing service to work with early intervention services the Council and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will provide excellent support to help families and children access the right service at the right time.

“Every young person deserves the best possible start in life. A big part of that is keeping children healthy and safe, and preparing them for early years, education, and beyond.”

Councillor Graeme Hoskin, Lead Councillor for Health, said:

“Reading’s Children, Family and Public Health services have suffered huge government funding cuts  over the past seven years. Joining up Health, Education and Early Help Services will help us deliver the best possible services we can with our cut budgets.

“The service will improve our chances of earlier prevention and intervention thanks to a range of services working more closely together.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The Healthy Child Programme (HCP) provides a framework to support collaborative work and more integrated delivery. The Programme (0-19) aims to:

·       Help parents develop and sustain a strong bond with children;

·       Encourage care that keeps children healthy and safe;

·       Protect children from serious disease, through screening and immunisation;

·       Reduce childhood obesity by promoting healthy eating and physical activity;

·       Identify health issues early, so support can be provided in a timely manner; and

·       Make sure children are prepared for and supported in all child care, early years and education settings and especially are supported to be ‘ready for to learn at two and ready for school by five.