Health Update March


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 following update has been provided by North West Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust regarding the current provision of Orthotic services for children and young people in St Helens:

Lansbury School: Fortnightly face to face school clinic visits resumed on 9.11.20. In the last couple of weeks there have been some difficulties with attending the school due to available estate at the school. The school operates in 3 separate bubbles and orthotics are allocated one room but this is currently being utilised by other healthcare professionals, resulting in there being no rooms for an orthotics clinic. The Team lead is working with the school to scope further estate availability. Any children with clinical need, as identified by staff, parents or other healthcare professionals are being offered a clinic appointment until the school visits can recommence.

Mill Green School:  There are currently a small number of children at this school that require Orthotic service support and therefore to ensure maximum efficiency of clinical time, children are being offered an appointment at a clinic site.

There remain difficulties in expanding the general clinic capacity due to Covid and social distancing requirements and the estates available for general clinics. Urgent cases are being prioritised and routine follow up appointments are to receive safety netting information on what to do if they are worried.

For any queries then please contact the service directly.

The team are also relocating to Lowe House Health Centre and look forward to adding more to the Children’s Hub project. They are also looking forward to two new Nurses joining the team in the next few weeks.

Phone Numbers and email addresses are not changing.

The Short Breaks Playscheme for 2021/22 is in a holding position currently as the Short Breaks budget for the next financial year needs to be confirmed by the council. However, in the meantime a Task and Finish group has been set up with Parents and Carers to identify activities that are already out there that we can promote in a virtual calendar. Also, the group identify ideas and suggestions for activities for the future delivery of the playscheme programme.

 If you know of any community groups in St Helens or surrounding areas who currently provide activities for Children and Young People with SEND either virtual or face to face (following Covid-19 regulations), please share them with us. You can do this by contacting Hannah Sweeney (Children's Integrated Commissioning Manager)"

The Neurodevelopmental Pathway (NDP) continues to be a priority for St Helens Children and Young People services across St Helens. As a result of this prioritisation and focus across services, the NDP programme is aiming to clear the waiting list for children and young people awaiting a diagnostic MDT decision panel by the end of September 2021, with a priority given to those CYP and families waiting the longest. This aim is based on a number of assumptions, including new referral rates, but nonetheless is where, as a system, we are aspiring to get to by October 2021.


In support of the above aim, Clinical Partners have been commissioned by St Helens CCG to work within the multi-agency NDP service to specifically undertake a set piece of work. They will undertake the ADOS assessments that contribute to the multi-agency pathway and these commenced in February. They have currently made contact with 66 families as part of this work, having a positive impact for those children and young people waiting for a diagnostic decision through the pathway, with 48 having taken place as of March 16th.


Additionally, Listen 4 Change members are participating in activities to improve the experience of families accessing the pathway with a focus on communications and letters to see if these can be improved.


We also wanted to clarify that the ADHD diagnostic process sits firmly within the Neurodevelopment Pathway as well as the governance structures and processes that support the NDPs delivery. This includes close working links between the Community Paediatric team and the other NDP partner agencies as well as close activity monitoring and scrutiny of referral performance indicators and diagnostic numbers.

We are happy to announce the launch of St Helens early emotional wellbeing and resilience support offer called ‘Thoughtscape - First stop for your mental health’. This is a collaborative offer between three main delivery services and other partner agencies.

The three main partner services are: The Resilience Teams (Barnardo’s), Mental Health Support Teams/MHSTs (North West Boroughs) and Kooth

The partner agencies they will work with include, but are not limited to: Teen Advise Zone (TAZ), School Nurse service, PATHS programme and specialist mental health services.

This offer results in early access to support when a child or young person is struggling with their emotional health or wellbeing. The collaborative approach means there will be no ‘wrong front door’ to the support they need, as providers and services will work together to deliver the best and most appropriate support when it’s needed, regardless of who they initially seek the support from. This offer will provide support and interventions to children and young people with mild to moderate mental health problems including; stress and anxiety, low mood, low self-esteem, limited resilience and/or coping skills and emotional dysregulation.

Further details of the services, including referral routes into the services, will be available in the near future as they are finalised.

A ‘Thank you’ to all the children and young people who were involved in the development and choice of the name for this collaborative service provision –

Thoughtscape - First stop for your mental health’

Parent Sensory Training Parent Sensory Training is offered to children 2 years old and older with sensory processing difficulties.  Prior to accessing the Training we ask that the Seedlings programme is completed by the Childs school and family.   The Seedlings programme is the universal offer around sensory needs. The programme provides information to families/carers on how to implement the fundamental & basic strategies to support sensory needs.  For some children this meets their needs and they do not need to be referred into the specialist service.  Some children benefit from these strategies, however continue to have functional needs and these are the children that access the specialist service. The service is able to provide telephone support to aid the completion of this paperwork.

The Occupational Therapy team have continued to offer the parent sensory training during the whole COVID period. The delivery of the parent sensory training has had to be adapted in line with COVID restrictions.  The service now offers the parent sensory training in a number of different formats

  1. Via You Tube videos
  2. In a written format
  3. If necessary, face to face clinic/home visit appointment

The service has received really positive responses to these formats as it allows more flexibility for the parents to access the information at a time that is suitable to themselves and their family.

There is an element of paperwork that needs completing alongside the videos to provide information to the therapists.  Parents can receive these via email or we can send paper copies if needed.

Each cohort for the Parent sensory training is allocated its own dedicated therapy assistant who is the family’s point of contact.  The families are contacted once the links and paperwork have been sent to answer any questions or queries, to ensure the family can access the You Tube link and understand what is required of them in terms of the forms.  The family are able to contact the therapy assistant if any support is required throughout the course.

The child’s school/nursery is also asked to complete a questionnaire so we get their perspective as the sensory diet needs to be completed at home and in school/nursery.

Following the return of the paperwork an occupational therapist contacts the family to have an in depth discussion and for the therapist to gain more information for them to write their report and sensory diet for the child.

Face to Face contacts

Since July 2020 Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy services have resumed face to face contacts in clinic, school or home settings.  During the most recent lockdown our therapy services continued to see children face to face where this was appropriate and the family were happy for this to happen.  Some of the observations and interventions required could only be carried out in school and if the child was not accessing a school place at this time then they were placed on hold and allocated a school visit slot for when the schools re opened and these visits have been booked in from 8th March 2021.

Changes to Clinic venues

From 1st April 2021 the paediatric occupational and physiotherapy service will be changing the venues it is delivering clinics from.

We are currently finalising details; however, we are planning the new clinic venues to be The O’Hanlon Centre, Peasley Cross, Lowe House Health Centre, Newton community hospital.

We will be in touch with all families that may be affected by these changes.

Current wait times

If a referral is made now parents can expect to wait 5 weeks for a virtual appointment.

If a referral is made now for PST they will wait no longer than 8 weeks to start the programme.

Recruitment of the Neurodevelopmental pathway Occupational Therapist

Unfortunately we were unsuccessful at recruiting to this post when it was first advertised.  The post is currently out to advert; the process for applications closes on 28th March 2021.

Under St Helens Cares Integrated health and care provision, St Helens CCG and St Helens Council commission through the Children’s Integrated Commissioning Team a variety of services for children, young people and families and also works with local partners to ensure a variety of services are available. St Helens CCG has updated its website to list these services and their links to further information. This can be found via the following link. 


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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