Agenda item

Health of Looked After Children Annual Report

Report attached


The Board received a report giving an overview of the work undertaken during 2021/22 to support the health and wellbeing of looked after children.


There has been an organisational change with responsibility transferring to the Integrated Care Board from 1 July 2022. The North East and North Cumbria ICB (NENCICB) is the biggest in the country with many areas of deprivation, it will now commission the statutory roles of the Designated Doctor and Nurse. Transition arrangements are in place until April 2023. 


There has been an increase in the number of children in care, this has impacted on the number of Initial Health Assessments and Review Health Assessments being carried out. At the end of March 2022 64.1% of Initial Health Assessments were carried out within the timeframe, a slight reduction on the previous year against a target of 95%. It was noted that this has remained fairly static over the last few years.  There was also a reduction in the number of Review Health Assessments completed within the month.  However, 100% of leaving care health passports were completed for young people turning 18.


In terms of Key Performance Indicators it was noted that the picture is positive with performance for Gateshead better than the regional and national averages, however substance issues remains high. It was noted that this could be down to the robustness in collecting that data.


Completion of the Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire has improved since last year however the average score has reduced over the last two years, where it would be expected to see continued improvement.


67 CNTW appointments were requested and offered over the year. The main reason for referral was for emotional wellbeing.  A Trauma informed model has been developed to support vulnerable groups to enhance the offer to young people. This is going through procurement at present.


There have been no known pregnancies within the care population in the last year following enhanced support from the Specialist Nurse and Sexual Health Services in Gateshead.


There has been an increase in the number of care meetings the nurses in the specialist health team have been requested to attend. In addition there has been an increase in activity for Medical Advisors for both adoption and fostering following the Somerset Judgement.


It was reported that 12 young people required assessment and support from drug and alcohol services for cannabis, nicotine and alcohol use.


For the first quarter of 2022/23 the number of Initial Health Assessments has reduced due to a delay in receiving consents.  However, completion of Review Health Assessments has exceeded target.  The team has also recruited to a post to support emotional and mental health needs within children’s homes.  Proposals for the LAC health team have been drafted and an outcome is awaited.


The free travel pass for care experienced young people is still being developed and it is anticipated these will be distributed in September.  It is hoped that a new enhanced dental service for children in care will be developed following a good model in Yorkshire, discussions are ongoing with Dental Commissioners.


Priorities for the next year are around Care Leavers, Strength and difficulty screening and transition to the ICB.  Scoping work is also progressing regionally around early deaths in the care leaving population and a request for a national review process to be considered.  The quarterly LAC Be Healthy meetings are continuing to be held and a member of the Youth Justice Team and a Young Ambassador have recently joined.


It was questioned whether there will be an ICB representative on the regional Care Leavers Board, however this detail was not yet known. 


It was requested that a further interim report be brought back to the Board in six months time so the Board can keep informed on the transition to the ICB.


RESOLVED    -           That the content of the report be noted and a further report be

brought to the Board in approximately 6 months time.

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