The Kent response
Towards autumn 2015, the seven Kent CCGs, Public Health Kent, NHSE Safeguarding and the child and adolescent mental health service combined expertise and resource to develop a UASC Health Project Team. The team quickly put in place a number of actions including: gaining senior and executive support to implement action at pace, plan to work through the backlog of initial health assessments, undertake a health needs assessment of the population, commission a mental health action-research project to work within the reception centres and improve the quality of statutory assessments across the county.
By March 2016 the plans identified in autumn 2015 had been initiated or completed. The UASC health needs assessment undertaken by Public Health Kent helped all agencies to identify the population change. We understood that the majority of entrants were 16 and 17 year old males primarily from Eritrea or Afghanistan. We understood and were able plan for risks regarding TB or other blood borne infections. We also began to understand the impact on the children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health as a result of their experience in their own country and the journey to reach England.
The UASC Health website
As part of our experience particularly over the past 18 month and with the implementation of dispersal (Immigration Act 2015) there developed an imperative to share our learning, tools, templates and guidance with other Local Authority and CCG areas. This UASC Health website is a tool to quickly share what we know, and what we have. We have worked hard to ensure that everything that has been drafted is clinically valid and responds to what we know about this population.
In this website you will find English and translated information leaflets and films which you can show children and young people so they can better understand what to expect. There is clinical guidance and templates for both Primary Care and Paediatric colleagues on the health needs and health assessment process for UASC. The UASC Health Needs Assessment is a core document which can be accessed throughout the website and we hope that it will be updated in the coming months with the review health assessment information for the population in Kent. The mental health section is where you can find out about the emerging evidence and findings from the action research project working with 16 and 17 year old males within the reception centres.