You may have heard that we now have a Designated Medical Officer (DMO) in East Sussex, but are perhaps wondering what that means?
Services and providers, for children and young people 0-25 with SEND, work in different systems with different priorities, but these systems and priorities don’t always align with each other which can cause challenges both for families, and for those working with families…..
“The Children and Families Act 2014 places a new requirement on local partners to work effectively together to improve outcomes for disabled children and young people and those with special education needs (SEN)”.
The DMO will support local agencies to meet their statutory responsibilities for children and young people with SEN and disabilities. Firstly, by providing a point of contact for local authorities, schools and colleges seeking health advice on children and young people who may have SEN and/or disabilities, but also Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and other health providers.
The DMO will: · Support schools with their duties under the ‘Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions’ guidance · Not be routinely be involved in assessments or planning for individuals, except during their usual clinical practice · Be responsible for ensuring that assessment, planning, and health support is carried out
The DMO role is a key element in supporting the CCGs in the implementation of the Children and Families Act requirements, as they have an oversight across all health professionals delivering healthcare to individual children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
A DMO will understand: · The processes for identification of disabled children and young people and those with SEN and disability · The process for securing health assessments and the principles for health advice in EHC Plans · The available health services for children and young people with SEN and disability
A DMO does not work directly with families, but they will be working hard behind the scenes to develop a shared understanding among professionals of how to identify signs of SEN or disability, the EHCP process, and communicating this to the wider children and adult workforce. ESPaCC will be working very closely with the East Sussex DMO, who has been in post since September 2016, to ensure the role best meets, and continues to meet, the needs of families, and children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.