The National Service Framework (NSF) for Children, Young People and Maternity Services has been published alongside supporting material, which includes a series of exemplar patient journeys. While it is not the role of the NSF or the exemplars to provide detailed clinical discussion on individual childhood conditions, exemplars illustrate some of the key themes in the NSF.
Several factors influenced the selection of exemplar conditions, for example: large numbers of children and families affected, significant cause of illness and distress, wide variability in standards of practice or service provision and suitability for highlighting the NSF themes. Such themes include the importance of responding to the views of children and their parents, involving them in key decisions, providing early identification, diagnosis and intervention, delivering flexible, child-centred, holistic care. Care is integrated between agencies and over time and is sensitive to the individual’s changing needs. It is also acknowledged that not every child with the same condition will follow the same journey or have the same type or severity of condition as the one which is illustrated.
The primary audience for the exemplars is professionals from a broad range of backgrounds including education, the NHS, social services and the voluntary sector. They will also be of interest to parents, children and young people.
The exemplars may be useful in a number of ways, for example to:
- highlight further references, which relate to evidence in the NSF and elsewhere, including key clinical guidelines;
- stimulate local debate and assist multi-agency partners to re-evaluate the way they collaborate on, commission and deliver children’s services,for this and other conditions, to the benefit of children and their families;
- provide an aid to examining and improving local clinical and non-clinical governance;
- provide a multi-disciplinary training tool for staff working with children and young people to raise awareness of specific issues and stimulate discussion;
- canvass the views of children and families on specific children’s issues (for example via focus groups), providing a non-threatening mechanism to open discussion, such as good and ‘not so good’ aspects of the current service; and
- provide a starting point or template for debate, prior to development of new local strategies for managing complex childhood conditions.
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