Decision Maker: Cabinet Member - Health and Wellbeing
Decision status: Awaiting Implementation
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The impacts of COVID-19 on children, young people and families are significant and potentially long lasting. Themes are emerging, which include a decline in emotional health and wellbeing, widening inequalities and increased demand on specialist services. As children return to school and services resume face to face delivery, hidden harms associated with the pandemic are starting to present.
Ending the COVID-19 pandemic, is partly reliant on COVID-19 Vaccine uptake and routine testing practice across the population. We know that social inequities are associated with vulnerability to COVID-19 and we know that vaccine hesitancy amongst adults in England is higher in areas of greatest deprivation (8%) compare to most affluent (2%), ONS 2021. Uptake amongst young people has improved recently, however, continued effort is required to further increase uptake amongst young people and families, particularly, in areas of greatest deprivation.
Public Health commissioned areas that support children and families need to be responsive and adaptable to changing needs. More children and young people need help and support and increasingly that support will need be multifaceted and easily accessed. Creating a focused integrated wellness service (Children’s Living Well Sefton or Grow Well Sefton) will involve linking up existing Children’s Public Health commissioned services and programmes, and other related activities. The hub will act as the co-ordinator of spokes, offering specialist advice and navigation, training, relationship management with wider partners and universal assessment practice.
The aim is to move away from separate services and siloed working to create a system that is responsive to need and easy to navigate by children, young people and families. It is acknowledged that COVID-19 has impacted significantly on need and complexity, therefore it is necessary to develop an offer that is holistic and includes outreach working.
A key focus is to increase healthy behaviours by raising awareness of key health priorities and providing easy access to a range of health promoting activities. COVID-19 awareness will be prioritised, including uptake of vaccine and regular testing where appropriate.
Discussions have taken place with key stakeholders to establish how the hub model will develop and operate to co-ordinate and facilitate an integrated health improvement offer.
 ONS (2021) Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy, Great Britain: 9 August 2021,
(1) The use of funding a period of 2 years from 1st September 2021 March 2020 to 31st August 2023 be approved.
(2) The 0-19 Healthy Child Programme Contract be varied to include a dedicated resource to develop the Children’s LWS model.
Reasons for the Decision(s):
Developing a children’s integrated public health offer will provide easy access to a wide range of help and opportunity, for children, young people and families. Adopting a hub and spoke model, or no wrong front door approach, services will co-ordinate activity and create wider opportunities to link with partners across the children’s system.
Opportunity to respond and understand the changing needs of children, young people and families to both enable the redesign of future services and to also assess the effectiveness of changes and innovations to service delivery models, adopted under the restrictions in addressing those needs
Additional capacity to develop appropriate and targeted health messages to children and young people, prioritising vaccine hesitancy and routine testing practice.
The hub model will be developed and operationalised by experts in children’s health and wellbeing. Sefton’s 0-19 Healthy Child Programme provided by Merseycare, have qualified nurse practitioners who screen and identify health needs early on for children and young people. They have access to families, presence within schools and other parts of the children’s system and can navigate and improve access to wider range of support, including specialist service areas and are therefore critical to development of this model.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected: (including any Risk Implications)
Continue to deliver services separately. Rejected because this siloed way of working means that children and young people may not access the wide range of help and support available and the opportunity to develop new ways of working to inform future delivery models will be lost.
Publication date: 15/09/2021
Date of decision: 15/09/2021
Effective from: 24/09/2021