Agenda item

North Yorkshire 0-19 Healthy Child Service


Considered – a presentation by Dr Gill Kelly, Public Health Consultant, and Emma Lonsdale, Head of Public Health, Children and Families, about the work of the Healthy Child 0-19 Service and local provision in the Scarborough and Whitby constituency.  The presentation centred on the four pillars of the newly modelled Healthy Child Service launched in July 2021 and the work involved including local statistics in the delivery of each pillar: 0-6 years old (on which the service was most focused); safeguarding and children in care; emotional health and resilience; and infant feeding, family diet and nutrition.  Reference was made to both successes such as the increase in antenatal contact in the constituency, and challenges such as efforts to promote take up locally of the Healthy Start Scheme which provided a nutritional safety net, and to promote the practice of breastfeeding, for example, through identification of breastfeeding-friendly venues.

Following the presentation, questions from members concerned:

·       Support for children’s mental health in the face of reduced resources and significant demand

·       Suicide prevention work

·       Support for children with autism

·       Promotion of sport and physical activity to improve wellbeing

·       Delivery of the 6-8 week review of new born children through both virtual and face to face contact and how the service reached the most deprived households

·       The use of libraries as breastfeeding-friendly venues e.g. Selby

·       The lack of provision of baby weighing clinics in Eastfield causing anxiety among parents

·       Further explanation of the developmental screening ASQ – Communication Domain figures for Scarborough which were less than Whitby and less than the average for all areas

·       The wait time for children to access services

In reply, members were advised that:

·       Children’s mental health was a key area of concern in the service’s work.  The service worked with schools, nurseries, families and the wider community to create a culture of positive mental wellbeing, for example through the My Happy Mind programme.  However, the need for mental health support was vast and much work was underway to address capacity issues.  For example, a second mental health support team had been designated for schools in the constituency area.  Further research was also required to assess local need.  Officers worked closely with other services as part of a coordinated approach in North Yorkshire to address suicide prevention through the monitoring and analysis of data around clusters and appropriate interventions.

·       A new autism strategy for North Yorkshire was under development.  Autism was just one example of neurodiversity which the service sought to address along with mental health needs in schools.  The needs of each individual child were identified on diagnosis.

·       A new pilot of social prescribing for children including sport and physical activity had been recently launched

·       New birth visits were always face to face at which point a risk assessment would be made around the frequency and nature of future contacts – face to face or virtual.  Face to face contacts would be made for digitally excluded households or those with poor wifi.  Persistent efforts were made to contact households.

·       The use of libraries was being encouraged not only for breastfeeding, but also as venues where mothers could meet to support each other, and as free vitamin distribution sites for the Healthy Start Scheme

·       Certain myths surrounded baby weighing.  Up to 6 months, a baby should not be weighed more than once a month, and more frequent visits may increase anxiety.  Contact with other mothers and peer support was as important as baby weighing and a request to have one’s baby weighed could be made at a virtual or face to face meeting with the health visitor.  The issue around baby weighing in Eastfield may well be a cultural one which needed to be addressed through better promotion of support available.


At the request of the Chair, the presenters agreed to provide more detailed responses to the committee on all these matters after the meeting.


Resolved – That the presentation be noted.

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