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The Lighthouse: keeping you informed

EPUT took over the management of children's services at The Lighthouse Child Development Centre in Southend from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust in March 2022.

We host the services at The Lighthouse on behalf of the Mid and South Essex Community Collaborative, a partnership between a number of NHS organisations who work together and provide services in the community for children and young people.

The Lighthouse Parent, Carer and Young Person Network is open to all parents, carers and young people living in Southend and Essex who use services provided by the Lighthouse Childhood Development Centre in Southend. 

Meetings give you the opportunity to: 

  • meet and speak to the Lighthouse team
  • ask questions
  • hear about service developments
  • connect with other parents, carers and young people

Stay for as long or as little as you like, come with a question or simply to listen. 

The network meets on the first Tuesday of each month, alternating between 12.30pm-2pm and 7pm-8.30pm. Please see details of upcoming meetings below: 

Tuesday 3 October 2023, 12.30pm to 2pm. Use this link to join

Tuesday 7 November 2023, 7pm to 8.30pm. Use this link to join

Tuesday 5 December 2023, 12.30pm to 2pm. Use this link to join

Tuesday 2 January 2024, 7pm to 8.30pm. Use this link to join

Tuesday 6 February 2024, 12.30pm to 2pm. Use this link to join

If you have any queries about the network or how you can get involved, please email epunft.pet@nhs.net

The Lighthouse is continuing to hire more administrative staff. As a result of the recruitment so far, calls are now being answered with a 10 to 15 minute maximum waiting time.

We have created a new flyer to show the different ways you can get in touch regarding your child's care. Use this link to view the flyer

Our neurodevelopmental diagnosis pathway is based at The Lighthouse Child Development Centre. It is delivered by a team of professionals who can assess and diagnose conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyspraxia, tics and Tourette’s syndrome. 

A new referral process launched in January 2023. Any healthcare or education professional can now refer a child or young person for assessment within this service. Find referral information for professionals here

If you have concerns about your child’s neurodevelopment, please speak to your child’s GP or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCO). For very young children, speak to your Health Visitor. Find information for parents and carers here

The Lighthouse Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) team and JIGSAW team are hosting a series of ASD post-diagnostic support sessions. 

If your child receives a diagnosis of ASD, you will be invited to our post-diagnosis support groups - we run these in Southend and surrounding areas with a range of partners and community groups. 

Find details of upcoming sessions on our ASD post-diagnosis support group page

We are experiencing increased demand following the COVID-19 pandemic and are aware that this can be a very difficult time for families. We want to provide you and your child with help and support and are trying our best to bring down these waiting times.

We are working on a number of ways to do this including outsourcing some assessments that have been waiting longest to Provide Wellbeing in Chelmsford. Families are being called and given the choice to take this if they wish to. We hope that this will help to reduce waiting times for everyone.

We are looking closely at how we can reduce waiting times and the number of children’s clinic appointments between referral and diagnosis. This will overall improve waiting times so children will be seen in a more timely manner.

We have been working with local partners, including commissioners, councils, schools, GPs, parent carer forums, and families to improve services at The Lighthouse:

  • A Recovery plan is in place, reviewed regularly to give parents assurance that we are bringing down the waiting times
  • The service offers a blend of face-to-face, virtual and telephone appointments matched to the needs of children and families.
  • A clinical priority booking system is in place with a standardised and equitable process to consider expedited appointment requests.
  • A duty line is available Monday – Thursday 16.00 – 17.30 on 07581 053693 on which you can discuss any concerns. A Message can be left outside of this time.
  • A new nurse-led ADHD service, which provides Qb test screening. This is a computer-based screening which gives a good initial indication of whether a child has ADHD. The clinic also provides further diagnostic assessments for children with suspected ADHD, and treatment.
  • We have hired more doctors on a temporary basis to clear the backlog and reduce appointment waiting times, has recruited a permanent paediatric consultant for neurodisabilities, and continues to recruit for more permanent medical staff.
  • Recruited additional administrative staff to answer phones more quickly, and to support with referrals and booking appointments
  • Services are also looking at how they can introduce improved ways of working

We hope these changes will give families a better experience with The Lighthouse and will begin to reduce waiting times which is a priority for our services.

We are using a new website for families to provide feedback. Please share your views through the I Want Great Care website using this link, or by visiting http://eput.iwgc.net/ and searching the service code 5082.

We also work with local parent carer forums who you can provide feedback to:

 

While your child is waiting for an appointment or diagnosis, support is available through charities, health services and family support groups. Having no specific diagnosis should not stop you or your child from receiving support, so please consider the below:

Keep in touch with your health services
Keep your GP updated as they are still responsible for your care and contact them if you need help or your child is unwell. In an emergency you can go to your local Accident and Emergency Department.

Talk to someone
Mental health problems can affect the way your child/young person thinks, feels and behaves. If your child has problems with their mental health, they might feel sad, worried, confused, anxious, angry, frightened, hopeless or isolated. Support is available from:

Southend, Essex and Thurrock Children's and Adolescent's Mental Health Service (SET CAMHS) (Previously known as EWMHs) https://www.nelft.nhs.uk/set-camhs

Keep a journal or diary

Recording things like feelings, thoughts, moods, worries, events and behaviours can help and this is something that you can take to your child’s appointment to show the mental health professional.

It’s also a good idea to think about what you want to ask at your appointment and make a note of the things that are most important to you.

Resources for parents and carers

There are a wide range of local, national and international resources available for parents and carers who are supporting a child or young person with neurodevelopmental needs. You can find these on our resources for parents and carers page

Get help?