Health Updates October

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.


Provider contact details

St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Tel: 01744 627599


There is a sense of back to usual now in the team, if you can ignore all the PPE that the Doctors and nurses have to wear. We will be asking all staff to share photographs of themselves so we can share with parents/carers and with the children and young people, as it can be quite scary when you see aprons, masks, visors, and gloves and not a lot of face to see, to work out emotions for example.

We, like the rest of the country, have to be reactionary with the current status both local and nationally. Therefore if St Helens becomes any more of a higher risk than we will revert back to virtual and not physical clinics, to keep patients and staff as safe as possible.

If Covid restrictions and individual school circumstances allow, the special school Paediatrician clinics will start in October with Dr John Roper.  He can’t wait to re-start and has missed seeing the children in Lansbury and Mill Green.

Dr Nevine Ismail is our new Paediatric Consultant who has now joined the team. She is a welcome addition to the team and has fitted in perfectly. She has many years of experience in Community Paediatrics from another area and we are very excited to have her on board.

Provider contact details

St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Tel: 01744 627599


Similar to Community Paediatrics the service has returned to face to face clinics, with lots of phone consultations as well, and whatever works for the families. There is lots of training sessions occurring in school for children that need interventions in school time. For some it’s a recap and others it can include very intensive training. We are very grateful for the schools and parents who support in this.


Provider contact details

St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Tel: 0151 495 5448


September is our busiest month for all the children that have breathing and feeding interventions in schools, training up the Teaching assistants and personal assistants. Obviously Covid has got in the way; however we are meeting whatever the need of the child is, in the safest way. Parents / Carers have been amazing and we admire the tenacity and strength they have had to have since the pandemic began.


Listening Ear has been commissioned to provide a new bereavement counselling service (Butterflies Service) for Children and Young People aged 17 and under in St Helens (with the exception of those with SEND where the criteria will extend 0-25 years and they must have been referred and accepted to children’s health services before their 18th birthday).

All sessions (which are 50 minutes long) are currently being delivered to clients aged 11+ using either telephone or video counselling.  For younger children, Listening Ear can work with parents and carers to enable support of a young child’s mental health at home.

To make a new referral, complete a simple online form at:

For advice on making a referral, please email

Listening Ear has full service accreditation from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) registered number 102805.

Listening Ear is also able to accept referrals for St Helens children and young people experiencing domestic abuse (DiAmond Service). Referrals can be made on-line at

Work continues on developing a proactive emotional wellbeing and resilience building programme to support Schools and Primary Care in St Helens. The objectives of this programme will be to provide a designated point of contact for all professionals, provide effective drop-in sessions in all schools every term, and to support and train education and primary care staff members to empower them in resilience building in our children in the borough. This has been delayed due to the COVID-19 disruptions caused nationally and the continued effort in recovery of existing services. A timeline and actions to move this forward are to be outlined once further clarity on funding arrangements are received.

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 


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.

Upcoming work

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.


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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"I like the pictures and I like the interesting information it has on the website" - Pupil from Allanson Street Primary School

boy in a wheel chair