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CCGs’ duties for children with disabilities

Doctors and local authorities must work better together to improve outcomes

Louise Prime

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Clinical commissioning groups, health professionals and local authorities now have a guide to clarify their statutory duties and responsibilities regarding children and young adults who have special educational needs and disability, following the reforms in the Children and Families Act 2014.

0 to 25 SEND code of practice: a guide for health professionals, published yesterday by the Department of Health and Department of Education, sets out how CCGs and local authorities must cooperate closely and effectively in planning and delivering services, to improve outcomes for children and young people. It covers the life of a child with SEND right up to 25 years – from newborn hearing screening, through support during early years education and beyond, to preparing for adulthood.

The guide explains how CCGs, NHS England, NHS Trusts or NHS Foundation Trusts and Local Health Boards must co-operate with local authorities in developing and reviewing the Local Offer. This should incorporate information on health professional provision for children and young people with SEND, which must include:

  • services assisting relevant early-years providers, schools and post-16 institutions to support children and young people with medical conditions
  • arrangements for making services that are available to all children and young people in the area accessible to those with SEND
  • universal, preventative services and specialist services
  • therapy services including speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy and services relating to mental health, such as arts therapies
  • wheelchair services and community equipment, children’s community nursing, continence services
  • palliative and respite care and other provision for children with complex health needs
  • other services, such as emergency care provision
  • provision for children and young people’s continuing care arrangements (including information on how these are aligned with the local process for developing Education Health and Care plans)
  • support for young people when moving between healthcare services for children to adult services.

The EHC plan – where the child has one – should form the basis for coordinating the integration of health care with other services. When the young person is due to move to adult health services, the guide adds: “The CCG must co-operate with the local authority in supporting the transition to adult services and must jointly commission services that will help meet the outcomes in the EHC plan.”

When a child with SEND moves home into a different CCG area, the old CCG must notify the new CCG within 15 working days. The new CCG must then secure the health provision specified in the patient’s plan until it has been reviewed – or, where that isn’t possible, it must within 15 working days ask the local authority to review the EHC plan or carry out an EHC needs assessment.

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