Health visitors in Croydon have transformed their service to coordinate more closely with organisations like nurseries, schools and social care.
This will create many more opportunities to keep Croydon’s babies and young children safe and healthy.
Since the end of September, Croydon Health Services’ health visiting teams have been working across the same six localities used by the other children’s services.
It means that, for example, GPs, nurseries, children’s centres, police, schools and social care teams in each locality will have a specific health visiting team that they can work closer with.
Croydon Health Services’ Head of Public Health Nursing, Juliette Penney (pictured), managed the change and says:
"All those fantastic other services in Croydon will now know exactly which NHS community team they can work with and get to know better.
“Teamwork will benefit hugely and, crucially, so will children and families. For example, we can reduce the need for child protection by identifying problems within challenging homes at an earlier stage - and working with other agencies to put steps in place that support the family. This allows different systems to work together to address some of the health inequalities impacting on children and families.
“Our NHS staff are often the first care services that families experience, so we are always looking for health needs where other services might be able to help.
“Good experiences in babyhood and early childhood also lay the foundation for better health and wellbeing later in life.”
Councillor Jane Avis, Croydon Council’s lead for families, health and social care, said:
“This is another important step forward to improving health and reducing inequalities. By improving coordination of NHS and Croydon Council services at a local level, we will help services to increase their understanding of the needs of local communities and provide the right support to people at the right time.”
The Trust’s health visiting service has 46 health visitors (who are specialist nurses and midwives trained for the community), nursery nurses and other staff - all supporting babies, children under five and their families.
All were involved in workshops to gather their ideas and make this restructure as effective as possible. Their enquiry telephone line, for both public and organisations, is 020 8274 6006.
This closer working comes amid an excellent climate of local cooperation between services in Croydon, including:
- The successful One Croydon alliance between the NHS, Croydon Council and Age UK Croydon that has greatly helped with older people’s care through schemes such as Living Independently For Everyone (LIFE).
- This year Croydon also became the first place in England to put joint leadership in place between its NHS and local Clinical Commissioning Group, leading the way for similar changes elsewhere in the NHS.
All of Croydon Health Services NHS Trusts’ children’s services, inside and outside of hospital, are:
- Paediatric Emergency Department
- Rupert Bear Paediatric Inpatient Ward
- Dolphin Paediatric Day Unit
- Willows Paediatric Outpatient Department
- Paediatric Inpatients Paediatric Outpatients Service
- Paediatric Surgery Paediatric Pre-assessment
- Children’s Community Nursing Service
- Children’s Therapies – Physio, Speech & Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy
- Paediatric Asthma Nurse Specialist Service
- Community Paediatricians
- Special School Services