On 11th May we were joined by an astonishing 100+ colleagues from a wide variety of organisations across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw (SYB) for our Children and Young People’s (CYP) Transformation Plan Event.

This event was to plan a new way forward to enhance life outcomes, reduce health inequalities and tackle the wider issues impacting the health of children across SYB.

I was delighted to have been able to chair this four-hour workshop event which had such a fantastic turnout – over 120 people – which is testament to the dedication and interest our colleagues have in supporting CYP with regards to some of challenges they face in our region; South Yorkshire has higher than average rates of children living in low income families.

To support systems like ours with this agenda (see the NHS Long Term Plan) NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) have asked each Integrated Care System (ICS) to develop a Children and Young People’s Transformation Programme to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities for all those aged between 0 and 25.

As part of this work, we recently launched our Healthier Together website which provides advice for parents, young people, pregnant women and healthcare professionals. It is a solid basis and an indicator of our future intentions to give equity of access for easy-to-find and easy-to-use information resources for communities across SYB, and perhaps even further afield.

The Transformation Event builds on this ethos and our commitment to utilise the expertise – clinical, social and psychological – in how we aim to really enhance the lives of children and young people in the years to come.

Hosting this event has really helped us to start this conversation where we can build on our existing relationships across the patch which we have with NHS organisations, local authorities, educational institutions, the voluntary and community sector and social care teams to discuss a way forward for SYB.

Shaping the programme across our region - and all sectors – will be critical to achieving successful outcomes which was the key reasons for making this a workshop rather than a webinar. We wanted to listen, understand and engage with our key alliances but also take some time to reflect on the wisdom provided by our expert speakers:

  • Dr Nicola Jay - Paediatric Allergist at Sheffield’s C hildren's NHS  Foundation Trust
  • Dr Steve Turner - Children's Doctor (Consultant Paediatrician)
  • Richard Metcalfe – Programme Lead, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System
  • Davina Hartley - ‎Regional Network Coordinator Children's Palliative Care · ‎Yorkshire and Humber Children's Palliative Care Network
  • Dr Venkat Reddy - Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician, RCPCH  (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) Offic er for Digital Health, NHS Digital Academy Cohort 3
  • Emma Sparrow - Children & Young People's Engagement Manager at the Royal College of Paediatrics

Not only did the breakout sessions generate healthy and lively discussion about what is already happening and working so far, it also pointed to how things have remained on hold/unchanged and what we can do to get things moving forward once again given the disruptions across health and care services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A key outcome was how we need to pay greater attention to system working, making sure we adapt our response to the needs of our wider geographic partnership but also the communities we are supporting, day-in day-out.

The key take home messages were:

  • There’s a huge commitment across every organisation already to do good and continue improving outcomes for CYP.
  • We need to look beyond health and care and consider how education, housing, social environment and access to sports are all equally as important for CYP development and lifetime health opportunities.
  • There are clearly gains to be made in continuing to work together, rather than working in isolation or at purely city or town level (what is known in the NHS as Place-level).
  • We need to take the very best parts of both Place and system working when we develop our final strategy.

Our plan is to continue to engage with colleagues at similar events throughout the year, as we work together to develop a Children and Young People’s Transformation Programme.

I’d like to thank everyone that attended for coming and for sharing their feedback (including on Twitter via the hashtag #SYBCYP-event) which gave everyone involved in the event a real sense of achievement.

We look forward to getting everyone back together to discuss this again in the near future.