Posted on: 20 December 2022

We’re pleased to announce a new way to support children and young people to be discharged from hospital when they no longer need to be there.

It started last week.

A number of young people who go to A&E are admitted in either a mental health or social crisis (often both) because they are not able to return home due to their needs, the associated risks, or crisis at home.

The A&E environment (or in some cases paediatric or adult wards) is not conducive to calming and settling young people at a time of crisis; it’s a high sensory environment which can destabilise Autistic young people and escalate problem behaviour.

Although the numbers are small, the impact on the NWL system is significant; there are immediate implications on A&E and paediatric ward staff and most importantly to the young person and their families.

This cohort of young people frequently breach time scale targets to discharge as it can prove difficult for local authorities to identify a suitable placement that meets their needs of high levels of emotional behaviours.

The aim of this initiative is to support social care discharges from hospital by providing two temporary residential children's homes placements in Wembley which have been block contracted for 9 months.

This discharge pathway has been created for a temporary placement (for up to 8 weeks) which allows time for stabilisation, rehabilitation and assessment social work to be undertaken and planning for the next steps. Options will be to return home, return to previous placement or identification of a new placement.

This is part of a Test & Learn project, funded by the ICS CAMHS Provider Collaborative (CNWL & West London NHS Trusts) and commissioned and led by Brent Local Authority.

The placements are for young people aged 12 to 17 years who have presented at hospital with behaviours like self-harm, suicidal ideation, or absconding.

They have been assessed by hospital mental health liaison staff as presenting with high levels of need but not requiring CAMHS inpatient admission and are medically fit for discharge by the hospital.

The eligible young people will be those who, further to a social work assessment, are unable to return home or stay with extended family (even with support) or to their previous placement, as well as not meeting the criteria for a fostering or semi-independent placement.

Children registered with GPs in Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster and awaiting discharge from hospital in NWL can be referred for the placements.

The local authorities and NHS trusts will review outcomes and consider future funding for the project.