A New Look at Hall 4 – the Early Years – Good Health for Every Child

Guidance setting out the way forward for the successful delivery of Health for All Children (Hall 4) in the early years.

Public Health Nurse - Health Visitor as the Named Person

In line with GIRFEC, the Public Health Nurse - Health Visitor will be the Named Person for the 0-5 age group or until the child enters school. The Public Health Nurse - Health Visitor is best placed, as a key provider of universal services in the early years, to carry out this role. The following offers a definition of the role of the Named Person and Lead Professional, taken from the developing national implementation work for GIRFEC:

The Named Person

Building on the recommendation from For Scotland's Children, and Protecting Children: Framework for Standards, we have introduced the concept of a Named Person in health and education, depending on the age of the child, to act as the first point of contact for children and families. It will be the Named Person's role to take initial action if a child needs extra help. This role formalises the activities universal agencies are undertaking routinely in their day-to-day work. The difference is that the Named Person will use the National Practice Model to help decide what actions to take and work more efficiently with others. Experience from the pathfinders and learning partners has shown that, in spite of anxieties, the role of the Named Person has not created additional work. Rather, the new processes have sharpened existing roles.

The Named Person is critical for supporting early intervention no matter what the age of the child or young person. Strategic managers within health and education need to give special attention to appointing a Named Person for specific groups of children such as those who are from travelling families, are being home educated and young people who are not in secondary education, whether or not they are the subjects of compulsory measures. This might be someone from a youth service or the voluntary and private sector.

What makes a difference:

  • Developing the role of the Named Person to strengthen the child-centred approach
  • Strategic managers deciding who the Named Persons will be in their organisational structures in health and education
  • Developing a protocol that defines at what stage Named Person responsibility is handed over from health to education
  • Ensuring the Named Person is appropriately inducted into the role
  • Putting in place mechanisms for appointing a Named Person if children are being home-educated, are from travelling families or are young people not in secondary education
  • Agreeing how to advise children and families who the Named Person will be and what can be expected from them and make that information accessible to members of the public.

The Lead Professional

Where a child needs help from two or more agencies, the Lead Professional is the person who co-ordinates inter-agency planning and makes sure that the different services provide a network of support around the child in a seamless, timely and proportionate way.

What makes a difference:

  • Strategic managers agreeing collectively the role of the Lead Professional and in what circumstances it will be used. This will include the voluntary and private sectors
  • Each agency deciding who in their agency is appropriate for the role of Lead Professional
  • Deciding and setting up mechanisms for individuals to become Lead Professional
  • Making sure it is clear to everyone when and how a Lead Professional begins and ends their role.

Key Recommendations

  • The Public Health Nurse - Health Visitor maintains the role of the Named Person for all children until entry to primary school.
  • NHS Boards are required to ensure that all pre-school establishments have a named Public Health Nurse - Health Visitor.
  • NHS Boards should ensure a link is maintained between the child and family and the Primary Healthcare Team for all children - whether in pre-school education or not.
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