Results of a survey by the Community Network, which show that despite the best efforts of community providers there are still concerning waits for children and young people’s services with significant impacts for children and families, and for staff morale.
The Community Network is hosted by the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers.
1. All respondents (100 per cent) were either moderately (23 per cent) or extremely (77 per cent) concerned about the impact of long waits for community children and young people's services.
2. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of respondents were extremely concerned about the impact of long waits for community children and young people's services on staff morale.
3. Almost nine in ten respondents (88 per cent) reported that current waiting times for children and young people to access initial assessment and treatment for community services have increased either significantly (48 per cent) or moderately (39 per cent) compared to pre-pandemic figures. For example, on average, respondents estimated a waiting time of 40 weeks for an initial assessment of a neurodevelopmental pathway and a waiting time of a further 32 weeks for treatment.
4. The most common consequence of long waits for community services on children and young people highlighted by respondents were delays in social development, education and communication.
5. Respondents also described long waits exacerbating health inequalities with a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities.
6. The most important national enablers to help providers address wait lists and reduce waiting times for children and young people's services were:
- increased investment in prevention and early intervention (66 per cent)
- access to additional national funding (58 per cent)
- support to increase numbers of staff with the right skills mix (54 per cent) and simplified commissioning and contracting structures for children and young people (39 per cent).
7. Community providers valued the role of partnerships within integrated care systems (ICSs) in reducing waiting times for children and young people's community service.