Improving services for children and young people.

In Kent and Medway, we want our children and young people to get the best start in life with better physical health, mental health and wellbeing.

The NHS and local councils are working together to improve health and care services for children and young people. We have looked at the way services are organised and provided, and we realise we need to work differently so that all children and young people experience the best health and care, regardless of where they live.

In the past, our services have helped children and young people up to the age of 16 or 18. They’ve then needed to move to adult services. This move has often been difficult for some young people. So we’ve already decided that we want to make sure our services for children and young people are designed to provide help and support up to the age of 25.

We recognise that we need to make changes to transform health and care services for children and young people (aged from birth to 25). And we want you to tell us what works well in the current system, and what we need to improve. This will help us make the right decisions for local people.

Tell us what you think

We want to hear what you think about children’s services in Kent and Medway. We need to know what is working well, and what we need to improve.

Fill out our survey, which is live until the end of September 2019. You can find out more about it in our news section.

Your views are really important. They will directly influence decisions we make to improve services.

You can also write to us at comms.kentandmedway@nhs.net and FREEPOST, Kent and Medway NHS, New Hythe Lane, Aylesford, Kent ME20 6WT

Services we provide

Children and young people are able to use a lot of health and care services which are also available to adults.

These include

  • NHS 111
  • Pharmacies
  • GP services including nurse appointments
  • Urgent GP appointments
  • Minor injury advice and treatment
  • Hospital services
  • A&E (some hospitals also have their own A&E area especially for children and young people).

We also provide services just for children and young people.

These include:

  • School nurses
  • Health visitors
  • Maternity services
  • Free school meals
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Special Educational Needs support
  • Free NHS dentists
  • Free NHS eye tests
  • Mental health support

Some of these services are provided in schools, and others are provided in the community.

Until now, services for children and young people have been commissioned (planned, purchased and overseen) by the eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for Kent and Medway and by Kent County Council and Medway Council.

Now, children and young people’s services will be commissioned by a single team covering all of Kent and Medway.

Accessing services

We hear that parents, children and young people are often confused about how to access our services. They may not know where to go for the help they feel they need. Or they may make an appointment and find that wasn’t the best place to go for advice.

We are planning a campaign to help people understand where to go for advice, whether it’s an emergency, or for more routine, every day support and care.

*Remember you can call NHS 111 for advice on health issues, and you can call your council for information about council services.

What we know already

The various NHS organisations and councils in Kent and Medway gather feedback regularly to continuously improve services. With support from Healthwatch, we’ve also recently been speaking with young people, parents and carers.

They’ve told us the following things are important for us to focus on:

  • Improving mental health services for children and young people and improving waiting times
  • Listening to the views and experiences of children and young people and involving them in decisions about them
  • Reducing gaps and inconsistencies in services and making them more joined up
  • Introducing clinics specifically for young people where they can attend without their parents for advice and information.

We also know that some services for children and young people with special education needs or disabilities in Kent and Medway have not been good enough. We are working hard to put this right. If you, or a child you care for, use services for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities, you may want to fill out the survey which focuses on this.

*Healthwatch Kent recently carried out some engagement for us. You can read about it on their website.

Next steps

We will be holding events and focus groups with children and young people, their parents and carers over the coming months.

If you’d like to get involved, contact us at comms.kentandmedway@nhs.net

The feedback we get will help us determine our priorities for the coming years. These will be outlined in a plan. We will also develop a children’s strategy which will outline our vision for services for children and young people in the future.

We won’t be able to transform all services at once. But we will be talking to children, young people, their parents and carers as we go along so they can influence improvements.

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