During the COVID-19 outbreak the decision has been taken by the Child Development team to suspend all face to face appointments, in line with NHS guidance to reduce the potential for transmission of the virus. Follow up appointments will continue by phone as well as any urgent initial phone assessments. Children requiring physical examination and/or direct observation or assessment by a community paediatrician will be offered an appointment in the future.
Please continue to use the existing agreed referral pathway. In order that children are not disadvantaged during this time all referrals received from GPs which are redirected to school will be backdated to the date of the initial GP referral once a referral is received from school with the necessary supporting information – (a completed Multi-Agency Information Gathering form).
The referral route for primary school-aged children having difficulties in school, is from schools rather than GPs.
Families that approach GPs for a referral to community paediatrics should be redirected back to their child’s school, using the form available below. Only if the school is not seeing any difficulties, should the referral be made by a GP.
This strengthened referral pathway through schools has been developed following discussions over the last year between the community paediatric team, GPs and the ISEND service. The flowchart below explains the new referral pathway.
The reasons for this are:
- Schools have a greater understanding of their children and any difficulties they may have: If schools are seeing significant difficulties, they are best placed to refer through the well-established and recently updated information gathering form. The form is produced in collaboration with colleagues in ISEND.
- Good support can start earlier in schools: There is a requirement on schools to access free advice from ISEND about the right support to put in place for a child. Some schools do this already as a matter of course. Asking all schools to do this means that children with special educational needs (SEN) will get better support across East Sussex, and the capacity in schools to provide well for children with SEN will increase.
- Support can start while the child awaits assessment: Starting good support does not depend on diagnosis, although diagnosis is still important for overall clarity.
- Information from ISEND will be available to inform paediatric assessment.
- ISEND are made aware of vulnerable children with needs in school.