A new era for health visiting and school nursing services in Northumberland
A new partnership aimed at improving health services is set to start this month.
The new deal between Northumberland County Council and Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT) aims to link health visiting and school nursing services more closely with other services which support children of all ages across the county.
The services will continue to be delivered locally by the same health visitors and school nurses, retaining their local knowledge of Northumberland, their key relationships with children, young people, their families and other stakeholders.
Cllr Wendy Pattinson, cabinet member for wellbeing said: “Health visitors and school nurses play a vital role in helping children and young people to lead healthy lives, as well as identifying and providing additional support to those whose health conditions or life circumstances place them at particular risk of poor physical or mental health.
“Our plan is to link these services more closely with other services for young people, to make access to comprehensive and coordinated support as easy as possible for those who need it.”
HDFT has extensive experience of providing health visiting and school nursing services and already manages these services in seven local authorities across the North East and North Yorkshire.
Steve Russell, Chief Executive of HDFT, said: “Although our Trust name is Harrogate and District, we already provide services across the North East, and we will now have bases in Northumberland too.
"We are looking forward to working closely with the current team of Health Visitors, School Nurses and other staff who currently provide this service – who will continue in their roles and still be based in Northumberland to ensure there is no disruption to the service.
“We take great pride in providing high levels of care for children, young people and their families so that they can get the best possible start in life and our aim is to develop and improve on the current the service to better meet the needs of the community.”
Suzanne Lamb, Head of Safeguarding and Head of Nursing at HDFT, said: “We are delighted to be working with these locally-based teams who have consistently demonstrated their commitment to helping families in Northumberland.
“We will be talking to families, staff and other stakeholders in each local area to find the best way to make services as accessible and as integrated as possible.”
Northumberland County Council’s Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Children’s Services, Cath McEvoy-Carr, added: “Both services are key elements of the wider pattern of services supporting children, young people and families.
“Our aim is to build on the work of existing children’s centres and “early help” services for older children, to provide coordinated support for children of all ages and their families.”
Liz Morgan, the Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The new partnership provides a framework which supports our priority to work more closely with other early help services. We see it as crucial for health visitors, school nurses and all the other staff who are part of the 0-19 service to be part of the integrated range of support for families in Northumberland.”
The new partnership arrangement took effect from 1 October 2021.