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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