Communication Link Person (Children’s Services)

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

West Dunbartonshire Speech & Language Therapy service is managed by the Community Health & Care Partnership. Before this initiative, between 30% and 40% of referrals received by SLT from local Early Education & Child Care Centres were considered inappropriate, incomplete or unsuitable by an increasingly exasperated SLT staff. Educational services colleagues in turn felt frustrated and unsupported. This was unsatisfactory for all involved, especially patients/clients and carers

What you did?

The SLT Manager took the initiative to “break” the cycle, engaging directly with Educational Services. It was agreed that an integrated approach would be key to consistently and systematically addressing the issues. The SLT Manager collaborated with a range of speech and language & early education and child care centres staff; fostering shared ownership, enthusiasm and commitment from all involved towards the new way of working. As a result, the Community Link Person initiative was developed and implemented. Key processes were developed to support this new way of working involving all staff from health, education and social care. Regular integrated senior manager meetings and on-going stakeholders’ communication ensure the progress is maintained and identify emerging issues. Joint training for all staff is on-going. School clusters (primary schools and the secondary schools they are affiliated with) meet each term with CHCP partners to share information and develop practice

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

The CLP initiative is now a mainstay of practice. Each EECC has a named link SLT and a named CLP. More than 80% of referrals to SLT are now consistently progressed. This has increased efficiency, improved quality and those in most need are provided with appropriate support earlier in their journey. In other words, children are supported at the level they require resulting in better outcomes. EECC and SLT colleagues better understanding each other’s’ roles, providing more effective interventions, with more support being accessed at the pre-referral stages of care. SLT is promoted by all staff in all EECCs. EECC staff have regular education and training from SLTs resulting in increased confidence, better understanding of their role in promoting SLC development with all children and when to request assistance from SLT. Children therefore receive more timely access to SLT when appropriate

Contacts - to find out more

Jackie Irvine, Head of Children’s Health, Care & Criminal Justice Services – West Dunbartonshire Community Health & Care Partnership. 01389 737709