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Local health commissioners host a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Summit

30 April 2019


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Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) held their first Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Summit last week, where professionals and parent-carers came together. The aim of the summit was to explore how everyone could work together to improve the outcomes and experience of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families and to ensure that they get the support they need.

Over 150 professionals from the local health, education and social care system and four local parent carer forums had the unique opportunity to share experiences of what worked well in each of the areas and the challenges faced.

Anne Murray, Chief Nurse for the BLMK Commissioning Collaborative said “It’s important that we view SEND as a whole system and agree a collaborative approach across BLMK”.

Representatives from the four parent-carer forums spoke enthusiastically about how they worked alongside the local councils and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) as strategic partners and critical friends, highlighting many of the successes achieved and work co-produced over the past year. “I’m hoping that people will leave today’s summit with a raised awareness of the importance of the SEND agenda.  It’s a very positive move forward” commented Karen Russell, Chair of Bedford Borough Parent Carers Forum.

Jon Ralphs Chair of PACA MK (Parent and Carers Alliance) added “Today confirms we’re doing the right thing.  It’s been good to be able to share stories and I was pleased to hear the story about Charlie from Bedfordshire and how he has met his aspirations, playing for England’s wheelchair football team and winning a silver medal in the 2011 World Cup, and now working as a programme manager for the BBC.  We’d like there to be more stories that are similar to Charlie’s”.

Lorraine Mulroney, Senior Nurse Children and Young People and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Programme Lead (NHS England/NHS Improvement) delivered an inspiring presentation, highlighting best practice examples from across the country “ “It’s great to see BLMK bringing everyone together for the first Integrated Care System (ICS) Health summit on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. I’d like to see BLMK take forward their learning from today’s SEND summit to other ICSs and to celebrate the successes already made”.

Lauren Hughes, Director of Clinical Policy and Operations (NHS England and NHS Improvement) commented “I’m delighted that BLMK are already putting children and young people at the top of the list of priorities.  With this focus, BLMK are leading the way, and we would like to see such collaborative leadership and co-design across the country.  We are looking forward to working with the team, to learn from their experiences and provide our help and support in the future”.

Feeding back at the end of the summit, Patricia Davies Joint Accountable for BLMK CCGs said “We’re delighted by the level of commitment and dedication partners from across the whole system have shown today.  It’s essential that as a system we all work more closely together in the future when deciding on the support available for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities in our area.  We are committed to working with NHS England and NHSI, and continuing to work closely with our parent-carer forums and children and young people to transform local services”.

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Notes to editors

Pictured L to R:

Dr. Sanhita Chakrabarti, Clinical Lead for Children and Young People, Bedfordshire CCG

Patricia Davies, Joint Accountable Officer: Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCGs

Lauren Hughes, Director of Clinical Policy and Operations, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Anne Murray Chief Nurse, BLMK Commissioning Collaborative

Lorraine Mulroney, Senior Nurse Children and Young People and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Programme Lead, NHS England/NHS Improvement

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