We have been working with the HCT team for about 12 months, supporting them to pilot the concept of group child development clinics. This group consultation approach builds on our learnings from primary care and adapts the approach for early years practitioners. The programme is very much a joint effort, with front line health visiting and childrens’ centres teams leading the design process from the start.
Group child development clinics see health and childrens centre teams working together closely to support families – including those receiving universal and ‘universal plus’ support from health visiting teams.
HCT has started with piloting group two and half year child development reviews and is now looking to expand and pilot a group approach for one year development checks too.
Group clinics offer win wins for everyone and have realised the following benefits after only 6 months:
Efficiency gains: 10 minutes or 22% professional time saving per review
Quality improvement: the social context of group reviews may support more accurate assessment of child development
More joined-up, family-centred care planning
Improved staff experience: better working environment; less repetition; reduced professional isolation
Improved family experience: more relaxing, child friendly, less stressful assessment environment, with children mixing and playing with peers
Parent benefits: feel less alone; share experiences and advice; build peer connection and resilience; learn from professionals and peers; see child playing with others – sometimes for the very first time