Have your say on plans for children’s health services

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Families will have easier access to advice as part of a scheme to transform health services for children.

Wigan Council is working on the second phase of its Start Well initiative, which aims to ensure children have the best start in life and arrive at school healthy and ready to learn.

It will look at health visiting and school nursing services, which are delivered by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and commissioned by the council.

The potential changes include introducing an additional contact for all children aged 18 months to discuss health and development and closer working between teams in the community to make support more available in schools and GP surgeries.

It could also see appointments combined for mothers and newborns to make it easier for people to use services.

The initiative will look at ways to use technology to increase the information available and there will be a greater emphasis on early help.

Staff working in the service will link people to activities and encourage families to look for peer support.

An initial consultation ran earlier this year, with families and staff helping to shape the plan.

A second consultation will launch in the coming weeks. People will be able to have their say online or at a series of sessions.

Coun Jenny Bullen, the council’s portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “We are determined to give all children across Wigan borough the best possible start in life as we know those that have the right support go on to have happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

“We are confident that our recently transformed Start Well service is already making a difference to young children and their families across the borough. It is important as we move forward into the next stage and with greater integration with other services that parents, carers and users comment on the proposals so that we can get it right for everyone. Make sure that you have your say so that we can place what our residents value and respect at the heart of what we do.”

Colin Scales, chief executive of Bridgewater, said: “These are exciting proposals to build on the excellent care provided by our health visiting and school nursing services through closer working with other services for children, young people and families in the borough. I would urge people to take this opportunity to help us further develop our services and influence how they are delivered in the future.”