By early 2020 NHSE/I recognised a comprehensive 0-25 mental health offer was needed if it was to meet the expectations of the LTP. We worked alongside NHSE/I to deliver a national under-fives mental health services report that would inform service change and policy development.
Clinicians working with children in the 0-5 age range are reluctant to diagnose or medicalise, and this presents issues in benchmarking service quality. But the 0-5 group remains important, with a significant crossover with adult mental health (MH) and it is an active area of best practice research.
Following a competitive tender SCW began working with NHSE/I to review 0-5 provision in nine regions across England. This review would inform service change and further policy development to deliver NHSE/I’s LTP commitments.
It was important to recognise straight away that models of Under 5 MH service provision differ by region - some have multiple services while others have only one. Some services are in pilot phases, others well-established and even at the point of conducting original research. Service purposes differ in focus and specialty. For example, some are targeted at children with specific parental MH difficulties.
- We designed a template with our in-house clinical, data, and workforce subject matter experts – this allowed us to be fair in our questioning while still interrogating the detail.
- Careful calibration of the questions meant we could highlight good, consistent practice across data systems, therapeutic intervention methods, and priority ordering.
- From May 2020 onwards we worked with regional service leads to capture and prioritise the most relevant insights.
- Nine detailed, extensively researched and curated case studies were submitted to NHSE/I in October 2020.
- There remains further identified work to be completed on equality and diversity.
- The final report will form an integral element of a wider review of MH services nationally and will go on to inform the development of national policy.
- Clear understanding of the wider Children's and Young Persons (CYP) policy context and rationale for this scoping and service review
- Adapted and flexed the offer to include additional key areas of relevance i.e. equalities, digital
- Rigorous iterative planning of report structure to ensure most effective presentation and usability
'SCW appears to be as equally passionate about the needs of under-fives as we are…We very much applaud the work of the team and feel it will be a crucially valuable contribution to us locally and hopefully to others nationally