New keyworker service in Brighton & Hove

A new keyworker service has recently launched in Brighton and Hove. It’s aimed at children and young people aged 0 to 25 who are autistic or have a learning disability, who are at risk of mental health hospital admission or are already in an inpatient setting.

Keyworkers are responsible for making sure that children, young people and their families get the right support, at the right time, in the right place, and that the local health and care system is responsive to their needs. More specifically, keyworking is about services being better co-ordinated, with the aim that this more “joined up” way of working will then become the norm.

Keyworkers will challenge any barriers that might arise, so families don’t feel like they have to fight to be heard, and reduce the stress and uncertainty they feel. They will be a consistent and first point of contact for the young people they support, and provide emotional support as needed. The aim is to avoid admission to a mental health hospital wherever possible. Where this can’t be avoided, the keyworker will remain as a core member of the network supporting the family throughout the young person’s period of admission, all the way through to discharge.

Transforming Care Keyworker services are being developed and rolled out around the country, as per the NHS Long-Term Plan. With funding transferred from NHS Sussex to Brighton & Hove City Council to run this service, Brighton Parent Carers’ Council (PaCC) has been working with officers to recruit the Brighton & Hove team and get the service set-up.

Children and young people are referred to the keyworking service when they are assessed as being ‘red or amber’ on the Brighton and Hove Dynamic Support Register (DSR). Amaze wrote about the development of the DSR some time back. NHS England provides further information (including an infographic) about DSRs and associated Care Education and Treatment Reviews (CETRs).

Some of the main features of the keyworker service are set out below:

Young peoples voice: ensure each young person's voice is heard and they are understood as an individual. Family support: supporting families to access the right services and resources at the right time. Transition support: ensuring transition is supported by recognised professionals and young people feel confident to voice their goals and concerns. Good outcomes: break down barriers, follow up on actions from different meetings and ensure shared outcomes are achieved. Problem solving: listen, offer guidance, and help problem solve. Stay at home: help young people feel safe and supported at home. Person-focussed: Work with young people in understanding their needs, and help communicate these to services/professionals. Support and understanding: Keyworkers have both lived and professional experience and strive for positive outcomes and making a difference.


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