Changing the lives of children

The Chair of the Children and Young People Steering Group updates on how the NHS is transforming care for children and young people with learning disabilities, autism or both who have behaviours that challenge and, or, a mental health condition: 

It’s nearly a year since I began in my role as the Independent Chair of the National Children and Young People’s Transforming Care Steering Group.

I remain enthusiastic and excited about having the opportunity to help steer this transformation programme and make a difference in the lives of children and families.

In many ways the year has flown, and the magnitude and complexity we face in making this a reality continue to challenge us.

I am pleased the steering group has developed well, and has key players as members that are essential to making this change a reality.

With partners from the Department for Education, Department of Health, NHS England, voluntary sector organisations and, of course, parent carers, we continue to focus on how we make changes across all of the services that children and families may need to access to get the right support at the right time and, wherever possible, to prevent children and young people from needing to go into hospital for their assessment, care and treatment.

But we still have a long way to go.  The systems are complex, and don’t always fit well or work well together. Local areas are facing challenges in relation to their own priorities and the austerity measures.  Although the intent is good, it doesn’t always translate on the ground.

Transforming Care Partnerships are beginning to focus more on the needs of children and young people, thinking about how they make sure they identify them through dynamic risk stratification processes and at risk of admission registers.  New pathways and services are being developed, but we recognise that change is slow and part of our role within the steering group is to keep all partners focused on the changes we need to see and making sure these happen in a timely manner.

So as we move into the New Year, we all remain committed to making sure that we do Transform Care for this group of children and young people – some of the most vulnerable children in our community.  We want to make sure the aspirations in Building the Right Support, the right for a good life, is a reality for all children and young people, and that they get the right care and support they need to make this happen.

This is the responsibility of us all, and my challenge to you, whether you work in a local authority, a CCG, for a national body like NHS England or the Department for Education, or for a voluntary sector organisation, is to recommit yourself to making this happen for the children, young people and families that we work for, and with.

Jane Ramsay

Jane Ramsay is Chair of the Children and Young People Steering Group at NHS England and also Chair of the Young Epilepsy Charity, which is a national body working to support 112,000 children and young people with epilepsy.

She is also a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life which advises the Prime Minister on ethical standards across the whole of public life in the UK.

Jane has a wealth of experience from both the NHS, including Chair of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a primary care trust and local government where she was a senior lawyer for many years.

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