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What happens when frontline practitioners are given protected time to work together in a multi-disciplinary team?

19th February 2020

A blog by Charmain Blake-Senior, LEAP Health Visitor Lambeth GSTT Foundation Hospital – Evelina Children, on the Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP).

The LEAP team

I feel fortunate to be a health visitor working for Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) representing health visitors within Lambeth.

LEAP is a ten-year programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund which aims to support the social and emotional development, communication and language development of babies and children, improve diet and nutrition, as well as help support parents’ wellbeing, their social network and strengthen their communities and wider environment. LEAP also aims to facilitate ‘Systems Change’ so that pregnant women and children are supported by a strong family-centred single pathway around which organisations work together and information flows freely.

Through ‘Systems Change’ an innovative and award-winning team, ‘LEAP Health Team’, was created and comprises representatives from frontline primary care practitioners. This includes, my role as health visitor (HV), a general Practitioner (GP), and two midwives (from two neighbouring Trusts) facilitated by a public health specialist, and all seconded from our frontline jobs one day a week. Our remit was to investigate how specialities could work together to improve pathways of service provisions for pregnant women, parents and young children.

As part of the project’s inductive approach in order to understand how each specialist area provides care, we used methods such as shadowing each other, keeping reflective notes and exploring communication and referral pathways.

The role as LEAP Health Visitor has allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced among all professionals and created a forum for multi-faceted dialogue to take place.

Through drawing on our wealth and variety of skills, which complements each other, one of our big achievements has been to promote access to each professional’s computerised notes, enabling more timely and effective care, with new computerised systems and pathways evolving. In addition, by attending different disciplines meetings, needs were identified and doors were opened to provisions of multi-disciplinary training being facilitated and future training being arranged.

Taking an experienced frontline health visitor, GP and midwives out of practice to work together under the supervision of a public health specialist, has proven useful and successful to date. I plan to continue to use this prestigious role within this award-winning team, by sharing the positive effects of working together, listening to service users about what matters to them, enabling us as service providers together to continue advocating and providing services which matter and are responsive to pregnant women, parents, children and their families.

Charmain Blake-Senior LEAP Health Visitor Lambeth GSTT Foundation Hospital – Evelina Children