Best start in life: cost-effective commissioning

A tool to help local commissioners provide cost-effective interventions for children aged up to 5 and pregnant women | Public Health England

This return on investment tool pulls together evidence on the effectiveness and associated costs for a number of interventions aimed at providing children with the best start in life.

The interactive resource allows results to be tailored to local situations based on the knowledge of the user. The tool is accompanied by a report providing further details on how the tool was constructed.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups can use results from the tool to protect and improve the health of their local populations when making commissioning decisions.

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Participation in exercise programme improves BMI of US school children

School children in the US, (n= 707) who participated in an short-term  exercise programme experienced  improvements in  their body mass index (BMI) scores,  significantly different than the comparison group. This group also had higher odds of being in a lower BMI category at follow-up; significantly different than the comparison group.

running-2837486_1920The 12-week initiative ran for an hour three times a week.  Each session started with a warm-up, followed by a running activity, and incorporated a skills-based approach to teach a new skill each week. During the cool- down session there was discussion on nutrition for pupils.

By the end of the the programme the child participants had better body mass index scores, than the non- participants in the control group.  There was also an additional benefit for those children who participated three times a week as their focus on schoolwork improved, and those who attended two sessions a week also had notable improvements in their mood and energy levels.

The full story can be read at Science Daily 

The journal article is published online and is available here 

Full reference: Whooten, R. C. et al. |Effects of Before-School Physical Activity on Obesity Prevention and Wellness | American Journal of Preventative Medicine | 2018|  doi:  10.1016/j.amepre.2018.01.017

Transforming children and young people’s mental health

Ways for schools and colleges to support pupils’ mental health are set out in a green paper, as well as plans for new mental health support teams.

The government has published proposals to improve mental health support for children and young people in England. Over £300 million has been made available to fund them.

The government is asking people for their views on the planned measures, which are set out in a green paper. The measures include:

  • encouraging every school and college to have a ‘designated senior mental health lead’
  • setting up mental health support teams working with schools, to give children and young people earlier access to services
  • piloting a 4-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services

Other proposals in the green paper include:

  • a new working group to look at mental health support for 16 to 25-year-olds
  • a report by the Chief Medical Officer on the impact that technology has on children and young people’s mental health, to be produced in 2018

The consultation on the green paper will run for 13 weeks until 2 March 2018.

Full document: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper

This short video describes the main proposals in the green paper.

The State of Child Health: Community paediatric workforce

New report, published the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the British Association for Community Child Health (BACCH), highlights an alarming 25% shortfall in the number of community paediatricians.

The report raises concerns over the system failing to cope with growing demand and the unprecedented pressures faced by specialist community children’s doctors, who have a wide remit from child protection to managing children with disabilities and diagnosing those with conditions such as autism and ADHD.

The report makes a number of recommendations to turn the situation around. This includes an increase of 25% in the number of community paediatricians, equivalent to 320 more doctors, to meet recommended levels and reduce waiting times. It also provides extensive guidance and clear specifications for commissioners, clinicians and health care organisations, all with the aim of providing a high quality of care.

Download the State of Child Health: Community paediatric workforce

Read more about the RCPCH State of Child Health series

Improving care and support for children and young people with mental health problems

Three Royal Colleges have jointly agreed five shared principles designed to improve care and support for children and young people with mental health problems.

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The Royal College of General Practitioners, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and The Royal College of Psychiatrists have issued a position statement saying that as well as the commissioning of specialist treatment, an effective child and young people’s (CYP) mental health system required:

  • acknowledgment that CYP mental health is everybody’s business and should be supported by a shared vision for CYP mental health across all government departments
  • a preventative, multi-agency approach to mental health across all ages, incorporating attention to education for young people and families, social determinants, and health promotion
  • a system of national and local accountability for population-level CYP mental health and well-being, delivered via integrated local area systems
  • training and education for the whole children’s workforce in their role and responsibilities for CYP mental health
  • more support, both from specialist services and other sectors, for professionals dealing with CYP who do not meet referral threshold to CAMHS.

Full document: Position statement on children and young peoples’ mental health

Tackling culture change to transform mental health services

Mandip Kaur for the King’s Fund Blog | 16th March 2017

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Traditionally, mental health services are delivered by Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) up until the age of 16 or 18 – or when a young person leaves school or college – at which point they’re expected to transition to adult mental health services. It’s long been recognised that this is a poor boundary for service transition, often having a further detrimental effect on mental health.

Forward Thinking Birmingham delivers mental health services for children and young people aged up to 25, combining the expertise of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Worcester Health and Care Trust, Beacon UK, The Children’s Society and The Priory Group. The partnership’s vision is that Birmingham should be the first city where mental health problems are not a barrier to young people achieving their dreams. The transformational changes to the service were driven by the need to address disjointed and fragmented care provision, complicated service models, long waiting lists and rising demand. The service operates a ‘no wrong door’ policy and aims to provide joined-up care, focusing on individual needs, with improved access and choice for young people.

Read the full blog post here

Improving outcomes for children and families

The Local Government Association has published Improving outcomes for children and families in the early years: a key role for health visiting services

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Image source: http://www.local.gov.uk

This guide highlights the importance of health visitors and commissioners to work together to monitor and evaluate the impact of the health visiting service.

The report includes case studies demonstrating examples of innovation.