I see the development of children and young people as key to my role as a family doctor. Through regular interactions with them I am well placed to support the care needs of young people as they prepare for adult life. In particular, my position in the health and care system means I can help them navigate a way through statutory services, ensuring they are free to meet their aspirations and get on with their lives.
I was keen to get involved in the NICE guideline because I think it will support more joined up working between services and help to overcome the barriers I have encountered when trying to help people have a smooth transition. Time and time again I have seen young people struggle to make sense of adult’s services when they move on from the more nurturing environment of children’s services. To address this the NICE guideline includes a key recommendation on having a named care professional to co-ordinate the care of people as they move between services.
For example, I have known David since he diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 11 years old. Most of the management of his condition was carried out very ably by his mum. When he was older and started going to university his routine changed and the pattern of his life as a student made managing his diabetes very challenging. As his GP, I was David’s care co-ordinator and acted as a point of contact for his family, who were concerned about his wellbeing. This was invaluable to them and to David because I was better placed to navigate the system on their behalf and make sure David could access the support he needed to live more independently, as he wanted to.
Whether they have physical, psychological or social needs ensuring children and young people have a smooth transition into adulthood should be a priority for service commissioners and providers. It can be challenging but those working in health and care need to work together so that children and young people, their parents and/ or their carers are at the heart of decisions about their care and have trust in the system to support their needs, at an important stage in their lives.
Whether they have physical, psychological or social needs ensuring children and young people have a smooth transition into adulthood should be a priority for service commissioners and providers.Dr Eugenia Lee, a member of the committee that developed the guideline and a GP from Greenwich