by Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales
Minding the Gap
Meeting the needs of young people as they transition from child to adult services has long been a challenging issue. Pharmacists, paediatricians, psychiatrists, GPs and a whole host of other health and social care professionals are involved in these arrangements. Yet, despite the commitment and hard work of individual professionals, transition remains an area where sadly, many young people are let down by the system and where, more critically, their health and wellbeing can be compromised.
Understanding where the gaps are in the system and how they can be overcome is vitally important to provide children and young people with the safe and effective care they deserve.
Taking action in Wales
This issue is attracting attention in Wales as the Children’s Commissioner for Wales continues to push for the rights of children and Young people.
The Commissioner has recognised that pharmacists have an important role in transition arrangements, particularly for young people with multi-morbidities and complex conditions. It was a pleasure therefore to be invited to join the Children’s Commissioner, colleagues from other royal colleges and Welsh Government officials last week to look at the issues in more detail with a view to improving the current state of play in Wales.
It is perhaps unsurprising that the meeting highlighted a wide range issues that impact on transition including variation across Wales in dealing with transition arrangements and age thresholds for accessing services, managing risk between different professions, and ensuring safeguarding procedures are put in place. The complexity of transferring care from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services was an area of greatest concern.
It was agreed that in all cases, transition arrangements must be started as early as possible with an appropriate lead-in time to ensure young people do not fall through the net.
The Commissioner is pressing for Welsh guidance to be issued by the Welsh Government to address the provision of healthcare services for 16 and 17 year olds and the transition of care from children’s to adult services. Creating the right conditions to reduce variation in service provision, improve communication between professionals, and to ensure transition arrangements commence in a timely way are all part of the Commissioner’s focus.
Have your say
We now have a chance to input into the development of the Welsh guidance. Managing medication throughout and following transition is vitally important and this is our opportunity to help get things right in Wales.
We have a very small window of opportunity to contribute. If you have any views or examples of good practice on transitions of care or any ideas where pharmacists can make a difference, please do get in touch and we can speak on your behalf. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 8th March and we can do the rest!