Children & young people with potentially acute health conditions – advice for practitioners

The contribution of multi-agency partners in supporting children, young people, parents and carers to safeguard children with acute and chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and eczema should not be underestimated.

Case reviews have identified that families do not always understand the seriousness of their child’s medical condition, and the potential worst case scenario outcome of death, if they do not act appropriately. Moreover multi-agency workers, including social workers, do not always understand the seriousness of some medical conditions

Key learning from reviews included:

  1. The importance of full multi-agency information sharing regarding the safeguarding concerns and clarity about the impact on the child’s health and medical needs.
  2. Referrals to request social work support for children with medical conditions need to capture the voice of the child and the impact on the child from their medical condition in addtion to safeguarding concerns; it should be clear what the professional making the referral wants to happen.
  3. Referrals from health services for social work support need to be of a good quality and clearly demonstrate what the risks are – and how serious the concerns are. For example if a parent smokes what is the risk to a child with brittle asthma and what does that child need to stay safe (ie. a smoke free environment).
  4. The importance of multi-agency partners working with health colleagues, including paediatricians from the district general and the specialist hospital, specialists nurses, therapists and universal health practitioners (health visitor, school nurse and GP) to request clarification on how the safeguarding and health issues impact on the child’s wellbeing. To inform the threshold or level of need it is essential to have a clear understanding of the child’s medical needs and the impact of the safeguarding concerns on the child’s wellbeing given the specific medical concerns. It is essential that there are conversations with the child’s lead health professional to clarify the child’s health needs. The child’s lead health professional will depend on the nature and the severity of the child’s health/ medical needs.
  5. The key worker for a child with a multi-agency plan should have a simple map of the range of health staff, contact numbers and email addresses so that all health staff are invited to child in need and child protection conferences/core groups.
  6. Young people should be supported to engage in managing their own condition; Manchester Targeted Youth Support Service should be considered in the support package.
  7. Agencies such as housing have a clear role in discussions about the home environment and the multi-agency group need to be explicit as to how this may impact on a child’s health needs.

More information about potentially acute health conditions in children & young people

QualityWatch is a major research programme providing independentscrutiny into how the quality of health and social care is changing. Developed in partnership by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation, the programme provides in-depth analysis of key topics and tracks an extensiverange of quality indicators. It aims to provide an independent picture of the quality of care, and is designed to help those working in health and social care to identify priority areas for improvement.

The QualityWatch website presents key indicators by area of quality and sector of care, together with analysis of the data. This free online resource also provides research reports, interactive charts and expert commentary.

QualityWatch Focus On reports are regular, in-depth analyses of key topics. These studies exploit new and innovative methodologies to provide a fresh view of quality in specific aspects of health and social care.

The QualityWatch Focus on: Emergency hospital care for children and young people can be accessed at

Children and Young People’s Health Services Statistics can be accessed

The Children and Young People’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for Manchester has been produced in recognition of the fact that improving the health outcomes of children and young people in Manchester requires a multi-agency approach to the collation, analysis, presentation and publication of data, research and intelligence relating to the health and wellbeing of children, young people and families across the city.

The Children and Young People’s JSNA is a ‘living’ resource that will be expanded and developed over time through consultation with key stakeholders and will incorporate the views of children and young people and can be found at


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