On 1st October 2015, the responsibility for commissioning public health services for children aged 0-5 in Staffordshire will transfer from NHS England to Staffordshire County Council. Commissioning Health Visiting Services and the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) will become the responsibility of the county council as part of this change.
What is the Health Visiting Service?
Health visiting teams provide expert advice and practical support to all families with children in their first years of life.
They are responsible for delivering the national Healthy Child Programme (HCP) for 0-5 year olds in Staffordshire.
This includes the delivery of a number of health reviews for mothers to be and children at various stages from the ante-natal phase through to the child at two and a half years old. Families can receive support with issues such as becoming a parent, maternal and post natal mental health, breastfeeding and ensuring that children are healthy, safe and ready for school.
As one of the only services who meet with all young families, they are uniquely placed to identify needs (including safeguarding needs) and refer or direct family members to ensure they get help early. They also have a role in community asset mapping, identifying whether a particular community has specific needs and working with partners to help communities to help themselves.
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Partnership Trust (SSOTP) deliver Staffordshire’s Health Visiting Service.
What is the Family Nurse Partnership?
The FNP is a home visiting programme for vulnerable first time young mothers aged 19 and under.
Home visits, delivered by specially trained family nurses, are offered from early pregnancy until the child is two and aim to improve pregnancy outcomes, child health and development and parents’ economic self-sufficiency.
Families can decide whether they want to be supported by the FNP or not, but evidence shows that the lives of those families who do accept this support can be transformed, with better health and development breaking the cycle of disadvantage across generations.
The FNP operates in four districts in Staffordshire (Cannock Chase, Tamworth, East Staffordshire and Newcastle-Under-Lyme). SSOTP provide the service in all areas with the exception of East Staffordshire, which is delivered by Ripplez.
What will change on 1st October?
The county council is committed to ensuring the safe transfer of these commissioning responsibilities. On 1st October, the county council will become responsible for commissioning public health services for children in Staffordshire aged 0-5 and as part of this, will be responsible for commissioning Health Visiting Services and the Family Nurse Partnership.
Health Visitors and Family Nurses will remain employed by their current employers (SSOTP and Ripplez) and support to families will continue as normal.
Families will not notice any change to the support they receive.
In the future, responsibility for commissioning public health services for Staffordshire’s 0-5 year olds brings a number of opportunities that will be explored.
- Support throughout childhood: The county council is already responsible for commissioning public health services and other services for children aged 5-19. This final stage of commissioning transfer enables the county council to commission public health services for children and young people aged 0-19 years and have an impact on key development points throughout a child’s life
- Prevention and early help: Public health services play a key role in ensuring that needs are identified in a timely way and families are supported to access the services they need. Health visiting services give an opportunity to ensure this happens for all families from a child’s earliest days
- Meeting local need: Local authorities know their communities and understand local need. The county council can commission the services that are most vital to improving health and wellbeing for Staffordshire’s children
- Joined up services: The county council can link health visiting services with wider services such as housing and early years education. This will provide a more joined-up, effective and efficient service
For more information contact Natalie Kelly, Public Health Commissioning Lead for Children and Young People firstname.lastname@example.org or Liann Brookes-Smith, Public Health Consultant email@example.com