Health Update December

Commissioners are working with local providers to continue the delivery of services, taking all guidelines and local needs into consideration.

As you may appreciate, this means that there are potentially changes on a regular basis and so we would suggest that for the most up to date information on the individual service offers and how to access services then to refer to the following websites.


The Government guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 was updated at the beginning of November 2020. NHS England and NHS Improvement sent letters to GP practices and NHS Trusts requesting an urgent review of the current Shielded Patient Lists (SPL). Two groups of people were identified as needing to be added to the SPL ie. adults with Down’s syndrome and adults with stage 5 chronic kidney disease. There was a request to immediately review all children and young people remaining on the SPL and in communication with parents to remove them from the list where appropriate, maintaining only those on the list identified as extremely clinically vulnerable and notifying each patient of this status. 

If you were sent a shielding letter at the beginning of the pandemic and have not yet been contacted by your child’s GP, please contact your surgery requesting a review of your child being on the Shielded Patient List.

Vicky Ford MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families - Letter to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their parents/carers and families, and others who support them 9th Nov 2020

There will be a change ahead as Dr Hasnain one of our longstanding Doctors is moving on, we are really sad to see him go and wish him well.  A new doctor called Dr Ajay will be starting in the new year so we are really looking forward to that. We also welcome another new Doctor, Dr Sunanda, who is only part time in the community but comes with a wealth of experience and also works in the acute paediatrics, so that link for the team is amazing. Parents are advised that they are still being offered appointments for their children in the Christmas week so if it’s not convenient because Santa is coming to school or Nursery, then please let the service know so they can re-arrange. All appointments are still face to face unless arranged for a virtual with the parents and clinician, whatever is most suitable for the family.

Abigail Broadbelt has been appointed as the Clinical Nurse Lead for the service, replacing Sheena Kennedy who is now the Clinical Manager for the Children’s Community services in STHK. Abi has worked for the service for many years and is already a brilliant leader so a real asset to the team. Clinic appointments continue with a combination of face to face or telephone consultation. Hot off the press, the Continence team would like to share that they have also started a bedwetting clinic that is delivered by the Specialist Nursery Nurses. The aim is that this will help any families struggling with this condition to get support quickly; giving them the fundamental advice they may help the problem straight away, and if required the Nursery Nurses will refer to the specialist Nurses directly if it is not a straight forward presentation and needs further investigations.

There have been some changes in the team and two nurses have left the service with Karen and Annette moving to pastures new. We are delighted that we have been able to recruit some new nurses and they will start by the New Year. We are also very pleased that Michelle Price has been appointed the Clinical Nurse Lead, replacing Janet Arnold who retired earlier in the year; Michelle has also had many years of experience and is looking forward to the new challenge.

The St Helens Neurodevelopmental Pathway is fully operational and is working to minimise the impact of Covid.

Feedback appointments following decision panel meeting are being completed via phone contact with parents / carers.

ADOS module 4 observations recommenced in October 2020 and are being prioritised on the length of time waiting for an assessment. Risk assessments have been carried out to ensure that these are completed in a COVID-19 safe way. All staff carrying out these observations will be wearing PPE and will maintain social distancing where possible. All other ADOS assessments and observations continue to be on hold in line with the COVID-19 guidance and social distancing measures and national guidance on delivery of ADOS assessments. This is being reviewed on a monthly basis.

School observations have recommenced with support from schools and relevant reasonable adjustments in line with COVID restrictions.

Currently the NDP team are reviewing their website information that is available to help support young people/children open to pathway, carers/parents and professionals. This work is ongoing and a Communications Task and Finish Group is being introduced from November onwards in support of this. Please link with your parent/ carer representatives on the Steering group for any further information around this.

The St Helens Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy Team continues the implemented business continuity plans in support of COVID-19. 

Since September we have been offering face to face consultations at homes, schools and at Lowe House Clinic adhering to NWBH NHS Trust guidelines.
In order to support more families, children and young people, we have started offering clinics at Fingerpost Clinic and more appointments will start at Newton Hospital. 

We will continue to offer these over the coming months to children and young people as required. We are continuing to adapt our resources to support virtual sessions and we have had success with these over the past six months. 

Virtual sessions are offered in lieu of face to face clinic and / or school appointments and are treated as standard appointments. 

We continue working with schools to communicate where a child has a scheduled appointment and may need to be collected from school in order to go home and access their virtual session. 

We are committed to providing a quality service whilst keeping our patients, their families and our staff safe and as a team we are confident that this is the most effective way to run our service moving forward. 

For most up to date information please follow us:

Download- flyer for a parent / carer group that the service is developing and if you are interested then please register your interest here

North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NWBH) are setting up a mid-Mersey parent /carer group and they would welcome any parent / carer who either has been or is currently involved in children’s mental health service to join us in helping to shape our services going forward. 

The meetings will be held virtually. 

The mid Mersey footprint covers services in St Helens, Knowsley, Warrington and Halton.

During lockdown, the input from the paediatric therapy services was restricted and assessments and input was mainly by telephone or video call for all services as per trust and national guidelines.

As lockdown restrictions were relaxed, risk assessments were carried out and plans put in place for home and school visits to start again in a way that would keep staff and families safe.

For physiotherapy and occupational therapy, telephone consultations are carried out for all new referrals and these are completed within a few weeks of parents calling to opt in. Parents are then offered a video consultation where appropriate, a home visit, clinic appointment or school visit if further assessment and/or input is required.

Home visits, clinic appointments and school visits are now being carried out for all children known to the service, however where appropriate the service is still completing virtual/video calls between face-to-face contacts.

 This is being monitored in line with Covid-19 restrictions and changes will be made as and when possible based on those guidelines.

Parent sensory training sessions are being offered as an online package or in written format for those parents who would like to do this.  There is still the option to remain on the waiting list for a face-to-face session for parents who would prefer this.

Children in Lansbury Bridge school are being reviewed and having their programmes and advice updated. Direct therapy is occurring as required.  Therapy staff are working with the school and are in different bubbles each day that they are on site.

DCD clinics have unfortunately been the last service we have been able to get back up and running due to suitable clinical space.  This has now been resolved and those children on the waiting list should be hearing from the service in due course.

Waiting times are within target and children are being offered intervention within 18 weeks, apart from those children awaiting a DCD clinic appointment.


The purpose of the Local Offer is to enable parents and young people to see more clearly what services are available for children with special educational needs and disabilities in their area, and how to access them.

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