Wokingham Borough Council has announced its intention to recommission the local Healthy Child Programme to ensure it continues to offer a quality service that meets the needs of Wokingham borough children and families.
The council approved the request at executive yesterday evening which will see the recommissioning of the local Healthy Child Programme happen at the same time as neighbouring local authorities West Berkshire and Reading, to enable the three councils to negotiate favourable terms with potential providers to the mandated programme.
The service design, delivery and monitoring will all remain within the individual local authorities, with Wokingham Borough Council continuing to cater for the needs of local children and families within the borough. However, the procurement process and subsequent contract will be in collaboration with Reading Borough Council and West Berkshire Council and it is anticipated that the new contract will be in place by April 2022.
The Healthy Child Programme provides public health services for early years and children and young people 5 -19, with the earlier years’ service being led by a health visiting service. Health visitors provide a vital role in supporting families and children, including antenatal and postnatal support, and encouraging the development of healthy lifestyles while safeguarding and protecting children.
The service for the over 5 years is led by school nursing staff who work in partnership across education and health, providing a link between school, home and the community. They also support mental health in schools, children with special education needs and disabilities, undertake the mandated National Childhood Measurement programme and also work to support Healthy Schools.
Both the health visiting and school nursing services are currently provided by Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and it is the council’s intention that a single provider will continue to provide services going forward for Wokingham borough as well as Reading borough and West Berkshire district.
Cllr Ullakarin Clark, executive member for children’s service said, “This pandemic has been a challenging time for all our residents, children and young people included, and we want to assure you that we will continue to help and support you when you need us.
“We are planning for the future and as challenges arise, we are working hard to ensure any future provider can support, promote and protect the health and wellbeing of every child and young person in our borough through our Healthy Child Programme”.
Further information about health visiting and school nursing can be found at the Berkshire Healthcare website.