Women and children’s care

Our aim is to achieve sustainable, high quality physical and mental health care for women and children across Surrey Heartlands. It needs to be responsive to diverse local need and affordable to the system.

We believe we can achieve this through working better together – both the organisations who buy (commission) the services and the organisations which provide the services – building on good local practice. We want to provide a good service for all, as well as targeting care and support for the women and children who need it most.

We will only be able to do this if we can retain and further develop our skilled and enthusiastic workforce.

As well as providing care, we want to help people to avoid preventable ill-health. We’ll do this by enabling and empowering local people to make the right choices for them and their families through support, information and access to early intervention to stop physical and mental ill health at an early stage.

We have lots of good ideas but we are also committed to the Surrey Heartlands citizen-led co-design communications and engagement initiative.

The First 1000 Days programme aims to update and refocus a range of services to make life-long improvements for children as they grow into adulthood.

According to research across the world, the first 1,000 days – from conception until two years – has a life-long impact. For a whole range of reasons, some people have different life experiences. A child’s development is influenced by a wide range of factors, including such things as the mother’s physical health and mental wellbeing, what the baby eats and drinks, to the child’s physical surrounding and stimulation.

This programme focuses on the areas where we can have the greatest effect to improve every Surrey child’s first 1,000 days of life.

Initial areas of focus include:

  • Parental attachment
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Safe and secure home environment
  • Personalised support for families with specific needs

The partnership is taking a system-wide approach to reducing health inequalities. Senior leaders from every organisation in the partnership, including chief executives, clinical chairs and medical directors, have pledged to raise the profile of this stage of life and maintain board-level focus to bring about change.

Surrey Heartlands continues to transform maternity services following the completion NHS England Better Births early adopter programme in early 2019. The next stage is to create local hubs where maternity care can be brought together and to embed continuity of carer, where pregnant women are supported by a dedicated midwife, or team of midwives, throughout her pregnancy, during birth and once the baby is born.

NHS England chose Surrey Heartlands was one of seven early adopters of the Better Births initiative. Under this programme, Surrey Heartlands introduced the award-winning Maternity Advice Line. Through the Maternity Advice Line, pregnant women can phone a midwife at any time to get immediate personal advice and support.

In addition, an electronic maternity system, delivered via BadgerNet, enables all the people caring for a woman through pregnancy and birth, as well as the woman herself, to see and add to her pregnancy health record. Together, the Adviceline and BadgerNet provider better joined up care for women throughout their care. A shared home birthing team allows women who choose to give birth at home, easier access to a dedicated team of specialist homebirth midwives.

Watch the Channel 5 news report about the impact of the changes on women and their families.

Surrey County Council, NHS organisations in Surrey as well as the voluntary sector are working together on a major transformation programme across Surrey Heartlands to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people (CYP).

The transformation will see a change in services themselves, the way services are accessed, referral processes, as well as a greater use of community assets, such as peer support.

This major programme, which has been developed with support from CYP, including those who have used existing services, will see a sea-change in the way services and support are provided to CYP and their families in Surrey.

The transformation programme has five areas of focus:

  1. Access – the right support, in the right way, at the right time for access and referrals.
  2. Early intervention – working in and with schools, community health providers and voluntary organisations to provide timely support and services to build resilience and prevent escalation of emotional wellbeing where possible as well as effective digital services.
  3. Social, emotional and mental health – provide early intervention at school for children and young people with behaviour, emotional and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and ASD.
  4. Vulnerable groups – extend current services for children and young people who are most likely to need additional support, such as those in care, care leavers, post adoption, those who have experienced domestic abuse and excluded from school.
  5. Crisis – a review of commissioned services to treat and support CYP in crisis through Surrey Heartlands rather than NHS England, which are accessible and effective, and build on the experience of other successful projects elsewhere. This will include a review of crisis referrals.

During 2019-20, Surrey Heartlands aims to start three pilot projects to provide specialist paediatric services to children and their families at GP bases closer to home.

As well as paediatricians holding consultations with children and their families at GP bases alongside GPs, the programme also aims to widen the skills for GPs in treating/referring children. This will help ensure children are treated in the best location by the most appropriate clinician.

We are working with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which has run the highly successful Connecting Care for Children programme (see infographic) in west London.

Surrey Heartlands has funded a two year assertive outreach project to improve the health outcomes for GRT communities (both settled and travelling). People from GRT communities often have less access to NHS services than other people and life expectancy is often worse.

A small team of health professionals work with a range of partners to deliverer health promotion and interventions on unauthorised (roadside), council and private sites, as well as housed GRT communities, across Surrey. As part of the project, health professionals – including health visitors, GP staff and maternity teams – will receive cultural awareness training so they are better able to meet the needs of GRT people who they treat and support.