Health and council chiefs hold out hope for some of Brighton and Hove’s most vulnerable people

Posted On 03 Feb 2015 at 6:23 pm

Health and council chiefs have supported the findings of a review of services for some of the most vulnerable people living in Brighton and Hove.

The aims include integrating education, health and care services for people with learning disabilities.

And there was a pledge to keep families at the heart of the process.

Another element was an agreement to combine education and support services for children with special educational needs (SEN).

And that the new “communication and support service” would be “co-located” with the relevant health professionals.

Councillor Vanessa Brown

Councillor Vanessa Brown

Jason Kitcat, the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, said that the proposals were about embedding a cultural change in the way services were provided.

Councillor Kitcat said: “Our resources are declining as a council and demand is growing.”

He told a joint meeting of the council’s Children and Young People Committee and the Health and Wellbeing Board that this was the reality facing public services.

He said: “We owe it to everyone who needs our services to find ways of doing things differently.

“We’re bringing everyone who’s still in the game around this table for this meeting.

“Together we will have to own this now and for the future and hold each other to account for what we can do now and in the future.”

Councillor Vanessa Brown said: “The aim of moving from a service with only average outcomes at a higher than average cost to excellent outcomes at best value is obviously what we would all like to achieve.

“I don’t want to sound negative but what worries me about this review is that many of the concerns raised in the 2009 and 2011 reports are still being raised here which means that they have still not been completely addressed.

“For example, for years we have talked about having a more integrated service.

Pinaki Ghoshal

Pinaki Ghoshal

“This would be more efficient, stop duplication and be less stressful for parents and children. But we are obviously still not there.

“It also says in the report that there is a need to improve the response to mental health needs particularly outside of normal working hours.

“The waiting times for a CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) appointment is far too long.

“For years these serious concerns have come up in every relevant report.

“A further area that has been talked about for years is the problems at the transition stage from children’s services to adult services.

“But sadly this problem appears to still be unresolved as well, along with the lack of respite care.

“I know we all, whatever party we are, want these problems resolved.

Councillor Sue Shanks

Councillor Sue Shanks

“I do hope this particular review, with the closer working with health (services) that we have now, will make a real difference and finally resolve these issues.”

The council’s acting assistant director of children’s services Regan Delf, who presented  the report to the joint meeting at Hove Town Hall, said: “We have a chance here to make a real difference. That’s down to the power of our joint commissioning.

“We’re all working together so much more closely now.”

She said that the focus was shifting much more to families and outcomes and that the proposals had been shaped after a wide consultation.

The council’s executive director of children’s services Pinaki Ghoshal said: “This is a very thorough review.

“It includes recommendations about better integration of education, care and health provision for young people and their families.

“It includes recommendations about a more personal offer.

“Whatever is decided today will not be the end. I see this as the beginning of a very important phase.”

This would, he said, involve redesigning services for children and their carers.

Councillor Sue Shanks, who chairs the council’s Children and Young People Committee, said: “It’s a good start. The devil will be in the detail.”

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