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Specialist service for young people in Suffolk set to expand
20/06/2017

​Learning Disability Week, 19 to 25 June

Children and young people from east and west Suffolk will benefit from a wider range of targeted support for learning disabilities and mental health problems when a specialist service expands this summer.

The Learning Disabilities Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (LD CAMHS), which is provided by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), is recruiting to nearly 10 additional whole-time equivalent posts. The expansion will allow the team to support people aged under 18 to remain at home, in school or within the community, improve their quality of life and maximise their potential.

The news comes during Learning Disability Week, which runs from 19 to 25 June.

The new recruits, which will include clinical psychologists, therapists, specialist senior and community practitioners, support workers and administrative staff, will significantly increase capacity in the service, which is currently run by two nurses.

It will also mean the team is able to offer a greater range of specialist assessments and bespoke interventions which have been specially tailored to meet each service user’s needs.

At the same time, the service is also developing a specialist behavioural element, which means it will be able to offer targeted functional assessments and intervention for the most high risk cases.

The expansion has been made possible thanks to an investment of £471,000 from NHS West Suffolk and NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Sam Gillings-Taylor, LD CAMHS Clinical Lead with NSFT, said: “I am delighted that the specialist complex needs of children and young people who have a learning disability and a mental health problem or challenging behaviour are receiving this investment.

“The additional funding will allow us to offer a more responsive service and wider range of specialist interventions to the children, young people their families and carers we work with. It will also make it possible to promote early identification and intervention and the principles of positive behaviour support.

“By building on our already good working relationships with partners, we will also be able to further improve access to generic mental health services for children and young people who have learning disabilities.

“Our aim is to help children and young people enjoy a better quality of life, improve their outcomes and maximise their potential by supporting them to remain in their home, school and their local community.

“This is a special time which the LD CAMHS team are celebrating.”

Barbara McLean, Chief Nursing Officer with NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “It is really pleasing to be able to commission this expanded service which will have a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of young people living with a learning disability and their families.

“These improvements follow the commitment of both CCGs, working with our partners, to deliver the countywide Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing Transformation Plan which, over the next four years, will deliver better services and outcomes and for young people with learning disability and mental health needs.

“This new development is also a key strand of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) action programme and is responding to issues raised by CQC and OFSTED inspectors in December 2016.

“Despite the financial constraints facing the CCGs, we have committed to increase overall spending on mental health services to £111 million in 2017/18, compared to £103 million last year.”

For press enquiries, please contact nsft.communications@nsft.nhs.uk