An evaluation of the impact of an enquiry line phone service for education staff in schools to obtain immediate support from allied healthcare professionals supporting children and young people during COVID-19.
Executive Summary This project has been undertaken with the NHS Fife Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) children and young people’s occupational therapy service. The project was pre determined by the project partner as the service wished to explore the impact of a universal service provided during the onset of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The allied health professional (AHP) enquiry line phone service was developed by NHS Fife HSCP as a response to service delivery during COVID-19 for children and young people. Children and young people’s services that have been available through the service so far are occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, and support for learners service. The enquiry line is available for education staff to obtain immediate access to universal advice and information for the children and young people they teach and support. Universal services form part of a tiered model of service delivery of universal, targeted and specialist and are described as services designed to meet the needs of all children and young people (Hutton et al. 2016). Providing universal services to children and young people is a key role of allied health professionals and is integral to achieving legislative aspirations across local and national levels (Scottish Government 2008; Scottish Parliament 2014; Scottish Government 2016; Fife Children’s Services Partnership 2020). An evaluation of the impact of the enquiry line service as a means of occupational therapy service delivery was carried out. The research sought to identify the impact of the universal support received, to understand how this universal support transferred to the classroom setting, to identify if teaching staff continuous professional development (CPD) has been impacted and if staff have been able to use the universal advice received with other children and young people. An online questionnaire was completed by twenty participants, followed by a semi-structured interview with one participant. A thematic analysis approach yielded five main themes relating to the three research objectives. The findings support government and professional body publications around addressing 2 concerns at a universal level by adopting a prevention approach and promoting well-being for all children and young people (Scottish Government 2016; Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) 2019). The project partner service was recommended to continue to provide the enquiry line service as a clear need has been established from this research. The findings can be used to support the development of the service in extending the availability of the service to health visitors, parents and families.