Plymouth families help to shape future service

Families in Plymouth have helped to shape the future of children’s health and care services as part of a process to choose which organisations will deliver those services from April 2019.

The Council’s Cabinet will now be recommended to name community interest company Livewell Southwest as the ‘preferred bidder’ for the provision of the city’s children’s health, wellbeing and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) services when they meet on Tuesday 9 October. The organisation is the current provider of those services in Plymouth.

The services provided will include health visiting, school nursing, speech and language, adolescent mental health services and safeguarding for looked after children.

Local parents, carers, young people, voluntary workers, clinicians and health and social care professionals have played a vital role in the two-year procurement process by helping in a wide-ranging engagement programme. Some parents helped evaluate bids while feedback from families helped shape the following themes by which the new service will operate:

• The importance of a single point of contact for integrated services, meaning that families only ever have to tell their stories once
• Quicker responses in times of need
• The need for more information while waiting for services
• Effective communication between healthcare organisations.

The plans reflect the council’s ambition to give children and young people in Plymouth the very best start to life, supported by the providers of services working together across the city.

Councillor Ian Tuffin, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “I’m really pleased that families and young people have been able to have their say on what they want to see from the service.

“Reaching out for help can sometimes be difficult so I’m pleased that under these plans, parents should only ever have to tell their story once. It is about ensuring that children and their families get the support that they need, when they need it.”

At their meeting on 27 September, the governing bodies of Devon’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which commission the services alongside Plymouth City Council, approved a recommendation to name Livewell as the ‘preferred bidder’ for the services.

On 9 October, the Council’s Cabinet is also being recommended to nominate Livewell as the preferred bidder.

Subject to successful finalisation of contracts with Livewell in the coming months, Devon’s CCGs will then seek to award a seven-year contract with the possibility of a three-year extension, beginning on April 1 2019.

Livewell Southwest will work in partnership with Plymouth City Council, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and a wide range of third sector organisations across the city.

Dr Shelagh McCormick, Chair of the Western Locality of NEW Devon CCG, which covers Plymouth, said: “The contracts are intended to deliver a system of advice, support and services that will support children, young people and their families, at every step of their pathway; from their birth through to adulthood.”

Dr Adam Morris, chief executive of Livewell Southwest said: “I am delighted that Livewell Southwest has been named as preferred bidder by the CCG to continue to provide community services for children, young people and their families in Plymouth.

“We relish the opportunity to build on the work we have already done to provide innovative, sustainable and responsive care and support for children and young people in Plymouth.”