Following the Julia George BBC Radio Kent show aired between 0900 and 1200 on 26 June 2018, we would like to provide an update on work around children and young people's mental health services across Kent and Medway and to re-iterate NELFT's commitment to working with Commissioners to improve and transform access to services for young people and their families across Kent and Medway.
Ms George advised listeners on air that NELFT had declined to be interviewed by the BBC Radio Kent, this was not the case, Stephanie Dawe, Chief Nurse and Executive Director, was interviewed by BBC Radio Kent on the Breakfast show at 0800 which precedes Ms George's show.
We would like to apologise to those who called into the show and indeed any families who have experienced difficulties in accessing NELFT services and securing appointments. We cannot comment on individual cases on national radio. We are also unable to comment on previous providers of care.
NELFT inherited a complex model across Kent and Medway and a staged transfer of these children and young people from multiple providers was managed to ensure patient safety.
Since September, NELFT has carried out a review of the records of each child and young person on the inherited waiting list to ensure patient information is accurate and all appointments are recoded correctly.
Clinicians are reviewing everyone on the waiting list and continue to check each patient waiting for more than 52 weeks for any change in condition experienced.
All families of children who are on the waiting list have been contacted by NELFT to advise of next steps and where necessary, have been sent screening tools to complete.
As mentioned in the interview with Stephanie Dawe on the BBC Kent Breakfast Show at 0800 prior to Ms George's show, the Kent system has agreed to use about £900k of Future Mind transformation monies to improve access by reducing waits for children and young people who have been waiting for more than the national target of 18 weeks. NELFT and Commissioners are now in discussion about how NELFT can increase capacity to provide care in a timely way to children and young people.
NELFT are addressing the inherited waitlists and are working on a trajectory so we can be clear with young people and their families on when appointments are available. All families will be contacted as soon as we can to secure an appointment. We are also live with a national recruitment campaign and endeavour to fill any gaps with temporary staffing as an interim solution.
As always, NELFT's primary focus is on quality, clinical safety, data integrity and performance including management of waitlists. NELFT recognises that early intervention and prevention is of the utmost importance and is working toward effective partnerships with schools, early help and other frontline services.
We believe the reasons for the waiting times are:
- Continued and significant rise in demand for children and young people's mental health services across the country, this is also being seen locally.
- Complex historical commissioning arrangements which resulted in multiple providers.
- The impact of mobilising a new service model.
Under the model introduced by NELFT, all new patients continue to be clinically triaged on referral which mitigates the risk of high risk children and young people waiting for assessment. We now have a Single Point of Access in place in Kent and Medway for all emotional wellbeing and mental health services.
As you may be aware, demand for children and young people's mental health services is rising everywhere across the country including in Kent. NELFT anticipates receiving around 14500 referrals this year compared to around 10500 in the last year of the previous arrangements. Our transformation plan includes looking at improved pathways for children and young people in crisis, and also a wider range of services including digital response.
The Neurodevelopmental and Learning Disability Service has been created in response to increasing demand for assessment and treatment for ADHD and ASD to ensure a dedicated team of clinical practitioners are working on both inherited waits and more recently referred children. We believe by streamlining the current service model we will be able to deliver an easily accessible, more joined up pathway for children, young people and their families.
For formal complaints, please email: nelftcomplaints@.nhs.uk