Liverpool Health Commission, supported by LJMU, is currently midway through its inaugural investigation and is able to report a number of emerging themes.
The commission is focussing on the first 1,000 days of life - encompassing conception to 24-months-old; recognised as the key period in human development when the foundations for optimum health, growth and neurodevelopment are established. Commissioners have so far visited Morecambe, Lancashire; Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire; Derry, Northern Ireland and Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.
They have spoken to more than 70 healthcare professionals and service users, with the aim of gathering their thoughts and opinions to see how access to vital antenatal and postnatal services can be improved.
At the midway point of the investigation, a number of themes have already emerged including:
- Many children's centres have closed and people cannot afford to travel to others
- Professionals are required to spend too much time on paperwork
- Different multi-agency working is required
- Pregnancy is the key target period as most women will access services during this time
- Public transport to reach services is a problem
- There are differing levels of service in different localities
- Many projects are short-lived and positive results are not built on.
The commissioners will next visit Neath Port Talbot, South Wales; Lanarkshire, Scotland and Birkenhead, Merseyside.
On completion of all visits, the commissioners and Academic Lead, LJMU's Professor Valerie Fleming, will be synthesising the findings with all relevant and contemporaneous documentation and literature, with the aim of making their final report public in early 2021.
Since the launch of the Liverpool Health Commission, a new commissioner has also been appointed. Professor Nicki Murdock is Medical Director at Alder Hey Children's NHS Trust and her interests include governance for improvement, and innovation and safety for patients and their families. Professor Murdock's full profile can be seen on the updated Liverpool Health Commission website.