Health chiefs highlight ‘significant progress’ after damning report

Members of the Suffolk Parent Carer Network have been calling for improvements to SEND services, pic

Members of the Suffolk Parent Carer Network have been calling for improvements to SEND services, pictured l-r, Anne Humphrys, Lucy Buckle, Sue Willgoss and Joanna Hammond. Picture: SUFFOLK PARENT CARER NETWORK - Credit: Archant

Health commissioners have been warned of a “recurring theme” in the poor performance of services for young people’s emotional wellbeing in Suffolk.

The Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (IESCCG) heard the concerns while discussing its response to a recent inspection, which found the county was failing young people with special education needs and disabilities.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission issued the report in February after finding the needs of many children in Suffolk were “not effectively met” and highlighted “dissatisfaction, frustration and confusion” of families trying to access services.

The report looked at whether health, social care and education leaders had met the challenge of the Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms introduced nationally in 2014 to make it easier for young people to access services.

The IESCCG, together with other CCGs and Suffolk County Council, were told to issue a “statement of action” by May 23, detailing how they will address areas of “significant weakness”.

Discussing the report at the latest meeting of the IESCCG’s governing body, chief nursing officer Barbara Mclean said that while inspectors noted a “good deal of work” was needed to bring services “up to speed”, “significant progress” had been made.

The appointment of a dedicated clinical officer to work on the SEND reforms was said to have brought improvements, with a further role to be created from June. “It was important that we responded well and began to increase the pace,” Ms Mclean said.

Most Read

However the governing body’s vice chairman Graham Leaf raised concerns the problems noted in the report were “not on our radar” and questioned whether a review was needed into other services the CCG commissions alongside other organisations.

“There seems to be a recurring theme with mental health and emotional wellbeing services for children and young people,” he added.

Chief officer Ed Garratt said the report would be a “catalyst for change”.

“The dedicated clinical officer is doing job,” he added.

John Hague, a GP based in Ipswich and the clinical lead for mental health, said the role of school nursing was an important part of the change.

“There’s more to do in letting people know about it,” he added.