Councillors endorse Disability Services exercise

Members of The Highland Council’s Health, Social Care and Wellbeing have endorsed a scoping exercise currently being carried out on services available for children with disability in Highland.

Included within the exercise is the consideration of Self-Directed Support and residential and respite provision which provides short break accommodation for children and young people with complex health and disability needs.

Chair of Health, Social Care and Well Being Committee, Cllr David Fraser said: “The ongoing work of this scoping exercise with NHS Highland, the Third Sector and families reflects the Council’s ‘Our Future Highland’ Programme which is ‘working together to improve quality of life and opportunities for Highland people’.”

He added: “I would like to thank all the many teams, staff and partners who are working together to support families to stay together and thrive in their local communities.”

A key requirement of the exercise is engagement with NHS Highland on the transitions and education for young people with a disability who may not be known to the Children’s Disability Service in Highland, as well as with Third Sector partners.

The outcomes of the exercise will inform the Council what is required to ensure an improved strategic overview, planning and collaboration for children, families, and carers within disability services.

A report to councillors highlighted that engagement with education is key in terms of transitions so that all children and young people who are affected by a disability - and are likely to be eligible for an adult care service - are identified at an early stage.

Councillors were informed that scoping work has commenced in Caithness and Sutherland with Third Sector partners and parent representation to map current disability services provision. Early feedback from this exercise has shown that “building more supportive fun and recreational activities was a priority for 35% of parents”.

The Council and NHS Highland are working hard to get respite provision back in place that is currently being ‘blocked’ due to long term stays of children with complex disability needs.

Members were informed that regarding the transition to adult services - the Council has been engaging with NHS Highland and a ‘pathway’ has been agreed setting out timescales of future planning for children and young people who will be eligible for adult care services.

Following completion of the scoping exercise, the Council will be more informed as to what next steps are required to ensure that there is strategic overview, planning and collaboration for children, families, and carers within disability services.

15 Nov 2023