Williams to help lead expert group on children’s health care

A former president of the Association of Directors of Social
Services has been appointed co-chairperson of an expert advisory
group which will work with the newly appointed national director
for children’s health care services,writes
Jonathan Pearce

National director Professor Al Aynsley-Green, whose appointment
followed the Bristol Royal Infirmary inquiry into infant deaths
after open-heart surgery, made the announcement at the department
of health.

Jo Williams, Cheshire Council director of social services and
ex-ADSS president, will co-chair the group with Professor David
Hall, who is president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and
Child Health.

Both are also members of the children’s taskforce and will
work with Aynsley-Green and the department of health in drawing up
the new group’s 31-strong membership of experts in the fields
of health and social care, education, management and the voluntary

Williams said: “We need to bring health and social services
closer together to support children and their families. I shall be
seeking to put the needs of children, parents and carers at the
centre of the group’s work on the standards.”

The group’s first task will be to work on standards of
care for children needing hospital treatment in England, which will
comprise the first module of a new national service framework for
children, said Aynsley-Green – the first module is due to be
published next year.

The full NSF will develop national standards for children
covering their progress through the health system from initial
contact with the NHS, via GPs or hospitals, through to support from
social services departments.

But Aynsley-Green said his role was wider than just pure health
issues. Modernising children’s healthcare services would
combine the “four threads” of health, social care, education and
environment, he said, which would also take into account a “life
chronology model” of the seven ages of childhood – foetus,
neonatal, infant, pre-school, first school, adolescent, transition
to adulthood.

“The mission is to improve the lives and health of children and
young people through the delivery of appropriate, integrated,
effective and needs-led services,” he said.

Issues such as maternity services and schools would be a key
part of the NSF.

“There is a great deal to be done. We must believe that we can
make change happen. This demands passion coupled with discipline
and reality,” said Aynsley-Green. “We hope that our work will
rattle some cages.”



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