Update from Orthotic Service for Children and Young People (North West Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust)
Throughout Covid the service has followed the NHS guidance and initially all appointments were cancelled apart from urgent appointments. The service is now seeing patients face to face but due to restrictions still in place we are not offering as many of these appointments due to the need to clean the rooms after each patient. This is affecting the waiting times of both new and existing patients.
We are accepting Self referrals and for the children that are known to the service the referrals are triaged as a priority. The service has over 300 patients that had appointments cancelled following NHS guidance. This has therefore increased the waiting times for children. We are working hard to clear this waiting list and we are also writing to service users advising them of the additional waiting time.
If service users have any queries regarding their orthotic needs then parents/ guardians are asked to contact the service directly so that it can be identified if provision will be through telephone consultation, Attend Anywhere or a face to face clinic.
Department phone number 01744 646422
Update from Paediatric Occupational Therapy (Local Authority)
The paediatric OT is called Rachel Williamson and although she sits in adult services she only undertakes paediatric assessments. We also have one OT assistant, Craig Nield.
Referral into the service needs to go through Contact Cares 01744 676767. There has been a high demand of calls to Contact Cares particularly since the Covid outbreak but referrals can also be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The service we provide as a local authority essentially focuses on the child's home environment so this could be adaptations such as vertical lifts, ceiling track hoists, wet floor showers, shower over baths, ramps and occasionally bedroom and bathroom extensions. Provisions are based on a criteria and a functional assessment, someone using a wheelchair is likely to require more complex adaptations.
We also support families with rehousing and have been successful on a number of occasions in moving families into Helena properties that have bedroom and bathroom extensions in place. We work very closely with Helena (now Torus) to support with housing issues and meet with them once a month to go through complex cases, these are mostly children's cases due to the complex nature of the adaptations and properties they need.
We provide equipment too. We split equipment between complex and none complex items. Complex equipment tends to be specialist postural seating, specialist slings to use with hoists, specialist beds (these can be made through LA or Health dependent on the child's needs), shower/toileting equipment. Non-complex equipment would be paediatric toilet frames, commodes, simple seating solutions, potty chairs.
Our OT Assistant carries out non-complex assessments and a significant volume of these tend be around safety measures in the home so this could be starlocks to doors, locks on kitchen cupboards, adaptations to window openers so window cannot be opened fully, door sensors. There is an increasing number of referrals for these types of assessments. There are a lot of children assessed at this level who are not known to the children with disabilities team or the specialist schools.
There has been a backlog of cases due to covid. All calls were put on hold and some families are still reluctant to have face to face visits. Rachel (OT) reports that they have almost caught up with the back log and are making appointments for new assessments.
Update about the Flu Vaccination roll out
Some Practices have already started to roll out their flu vaccination programme with Practices getting their vaccinations delivered at different times. The best way to find out is for parents/carers to look on the individual Practice website as this will detail how they are delivering clinics this year; approximately half of practices are doing this at St Helens RLFC Stadium the other half in Practice.
For children, the schools flu vaccination programme stops at year 7 in high school. Any children deemed as being in a clinically at risk group would fall under the responsibility of the practice. If a child or young person is on the Learning Disability then they are clinically at risk and the national guidance requires Practices to proactively offer vaccines for all learning disabled patients so if a child or young person falls outside the schools programme then the Practices should do it.
Over the next few months, the Integrated Children’s Commissioning Team will be working with the following services to review provision:
- Community Dietetics: provided by North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, all age service.
- Therapies: Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy: provided by North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, all children’s services.
- Speech and Language Therapy Services for Hearing Impairment: provided by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, all age service.
- Community Paediatrics and children’s community nursing services: provided by St Helens and Knowsley NHS Teaching Hospital
These reviews will involve assessing the needs of the St Helens population, reviewing current provision including engagement with children, young people and families, identifying gaps, and removing duplication in order to refine the service offer. We will work with services to update and agree service specifications to ensure they are fit for purpose and accurately depicts the work the team does and will do moving forwards to align with the requirements of the NHS Long Term Plan along with regional and local priorities. The revised service specifications will be ready for the 2021/22 contract.
We would like the support of the Parent/Carer Four to do this in terms of engaging with parents/carers of children and young people who have used these services to find out what they think. Given these challenging times we will conduct this work virtually through online surveys and phone calls were appropriate.