NHS Grampian – Children’s Health Services
Within Aberdeenshire, services for children’s health are delivered by a range of NHS Grampian practitioners and services, to support children from birth into adulthood at each stage of a child’s life. The Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) retains responsibility for some aspects of children services including Health visiting and School Nursing with clinical services overseen by the Children’s Board. This provides assurance to the NHS Board on several key Child Health themes and includes consideration of the effective delivery and performance reporting on the Aberdeenshire Children`s Services Plans.
The Grampian Child Health Commissioner maintains an overview of children’s services relevant to Aberdeenshire and co-leads on several priority pieces of work across the Health & Social Care Partnership/Community Planning Partnerships (CPP), to offer services for early years, parenting support programmes and child poverty.
Child Health Services include:
A range of local maternity service provision is available to Aberdeenshire’s children and Families, Community Midwifery Unit (CMU) in Peterhead and Inverurie support women to receive antenatal, intra partum and post-natal care. This includes breast feeding support. This means continuity of care is a positive factor in supporting women and their families. Parent education classes have been held online over the past 3 years, and are beginning to resume as face-to-face classes, which parents-to-be and their partners/support systems are encouraged to attend.
Health Visitor teams include community nurses and nursery nurses who support the health visitors deliver a core home visiting programme for all families. The Universal Health Visitor Pathway has had periods of reduced contact due to the pandemic, but in Aberdeenshire is working towards resuming full pathway with all contacts delivered in the home. This consists of 11 home visits, starting at 32 weeks during pregnancy and includes child health reviews to all families up to the child’s first day at school. Health Visitors provide the Named Person role and share key principles of the GIRFEC approach. Immunisations in Aberdeenshire have moved to the immunisations teams and are centrally appointed and delivered by the new teams, with some support still from immunisation nurses that have remained attached to the School Nursing and Health Visiting teams.
Aberdeenshire Health Visitors continue to support local Early Years Forums and GIRFEC groups; Presently GIRFEC groups are supported by Health Visitors, School Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitor team leaders as the representative for health, with the representative taking a 2-year tenure as chair on a rotational basis with other agencies invested in children’s and families’ services. Team leaders support a range of local initiatives including Gender Based Violence, Bookbug, the Community Nursery Nurse Forum, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Infant Feeding groups, HENRY, Digital Health initiatives such as social media for health promotion and the school Nurse Forum are some examples.
School nurses focus on working with children, young people and families in a number of priority areas; care experienced children, mental health and wellbeing, substance misuse, domestic abuse, youth justice, young carers, homelessness, transitions, sexual health and child protection. School nurses also promote wellbeing and early identification for school aged population, vulnerable children/families and those at risk of significant harm. They are key to reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) minimising the impact of health inequalities and promoting the health and wellbeing of Aberdeenshire’s children and young people. Priority funding from the Scottish Government, has supported the school nursing service to fund school nurses to undertake training and for some band 6 nurses to move from term time contracts to non-term time, providing essential school nurse services to vulnerable children and young people out with term time.
The Speech and Language Therapy Service is available to give advice and support to families and all those working with children and young people. Anyone with concerns can directly contact their local speech and language therapist for advice or to request support. Early intervention plays a key role in supporting play, speech, language and communication skills and can support a child reach their potential in daily activities. Special posts include the Public Protection Midwife supports staff and promotes training and awareness raising around alcohol and pregnancy.
Aberdeenshire have increased the Specialist Nurse for Child Protection role to 2 full time posts, with dedicated support the school age children. Providing support to Aberdeenshire staff involved in child protection, offering one to one support and supervision to health visitor/school nurse team leaders and others in relation to complex child protection issues. The Specialist Nurse for Child Protection role for school age children also provides the named person role for Home Schooled children who have never registered with a school.
There is also a dedicated Infant Feeding Co-ordinator in Aberdeenshire, supported by an Infant feeding lead in each locality and a Lactation consultant nurse and a Perinatal Infant Mental Health Specialist Health Visitor (SHVPMH) who covers the whole of NHS Grampian and is a new role in development. The SHVPMH, provides support and supervision to HVs across Aberdeenshire and Grampian with complex cases of Perinatal Mental Health.