A joint letter from the LGA, NHS and Public Health England to Directors of Nursing on winter planning and support to children and families.
Date: 7 October 2020
To: Directors of Nursing
Winter Planning: Support to Children and Families
Thank you for all that you are doing in prioritisation and planning as we enter winter with the challenge of rising COVID-19 cases.
We are writing to provide advice in respect of management of services to families as part of this planning. It is now known that the indirect impact of COVID-19 has been significant for pregnant women, children, young people and families. There have been increases in safeguarding concerns, domestic abuse, child and maternal mental health problems as well as lost learning time for all children, impacting on outcomes for safety and wellbeing.
Sustaining support for families’ needs to be a priority if short and long term harms are to be prevented, identified and mitigated.
Therefore, we advise that professionals supporting children and families, such as health visitors, school nurses, designated safeguarding officers and nurses supporting children with special educational needs should not be redeployed to other services and should be supported to provide services through in pregnancy, early years (0-19) and to the most vulnerable families.
Where these public health and specialist nurses have specific skills and experience that is required locally (for example, training in ITU) then individual discussions should take place, and if these individuals are redeployed this should be for shortest possible time.
Local authorities and directors of public health as commissioners of the service are very clear that this a ‘front line’ activity that needs to be maintained through the winter.
Prof Viv Bennett CBE
Chief Nurse & Director Maternity & Early Years
Head of World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery
Public Health England
Chief Nursing Officer for England
NHS England and Improvement
Councillor Ian Hudspeth
Chairman, Community Wellbeing Board
Local Government Association