The long-term NCL Start Well programme – which aims to ensure we deliver the best care to meet the needs of babies, children, young people, and pregnant women and people – has been carrying out an options appraisal process for maternity, neonates, and paediatric surgical services since late 2022.
This is considering the advantages and disadvantages of different options for delivering these services, compared to current arrangements. The process will continue into the summer, and you read more about what’s involved on our website.
To support the options appraisal process, an important piece of research is underway called an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA). The IIA will identify potential impacts from proposed options and consider ways to avoid or minimise any negative impacts on a particular group or community.
Impacts it is considering include health, equalities, travel, sustainability, and digital. The research is drawing on public health analysis, engagement with patients and the public, analysis of data relating to demography, deprivation and access, and an equality impact assessment.
So far over the spring, through the patient and public engagement for the IIA, the programme has held nearly forty group or one-to-one discussion sessions to explore experiences of using maternity, neonatal, and children and young people services in NCL and a range of themes including communication, continuity of care, travel and accessibility. This includes sessions with parents with learning disabilities or autism, local Jewish community groups, a Black African health forum, people who are LGBTQ+, people whose country of origin is not the UK, and mums aged 35 and over. Trust teams have also supported the process through identifying families who have had experience of neonatal care, and some specialist midwives have also been interviewed.
The IIA is being overseen and guided by a steering group with patient representation and experts from a range of specialisms including public health, patient and public involvement, quality, and business intelligence. Ultimately, it will help ensure Start Well contributes to reducing inequalities in service provision and outcomes and we fulfil our legal obligations concerning equality and diversity, sustainable development, and health and wellbeing issues.
The findings of the Integrated Impact Assessment will be published later this year and will help to inform next steps for the Start Well programme.