The Neuro-Developmental (ND) pathway is an assessment pathway where children and young people with symptoms associated with difficulties in the development of normal functioning are apparent in a number of areas. Some children may receive a diagnosis of autism. At the initial launch in 2019 the service received an unprecedented amount of referrals way beyond the predicted numbers. Waiting lists increased and the pathway was failing with many complaints and poor experiences from families. Professor Gordon took over the pathway as lead consultant in 2020 and immediately started work with commissioners and data specialists to understand the problem.
With the help from teams across the system and beyond, Professor Gordon has worked to see a 90 per cent improvement in the waiting list, but has also introduced steps to ensure that the pathway was patient-focused, with key performance indicators based on patient feedback.
Speaking about the pathway receiving the award, Professor Gordon took the opportunity to thank the many stakeholders who have contributed in making the project a success.
“This is a team that goes beyond most teams,” he said. “In fact it is much greater than the scope of the Trust. I wouldn’t say it is a multi-disciplinary team, more trans-disciplinary.
“We’re talking about colleagues in social care, SENCOS (Special Education Needs Coordinators), people in the local authority, teams within education. This pathway has colleagues making a real difference across the Fylde coast and the ICB (Integrated Care Board).
While the Neuro-Developmental Pathway has been recognised as a success on the Fylde Coast, Professor Gordon is now keen to encourage partnership across the ICB and share and learn new ideas to improve care across the system.
He said: We’re not even half-finished. This challenging climate, but we are now recognizing that this is a race with our friends across the wider coast to achieve perfect care and support for children and young people. We’re not at the end, but many of the other areas in our new growing partnership across what will become the ICB are way behind us. That offers us a unique opportunity for us to not just ignore them, or not for us to stay and wait for them to catch up, but for us to listen to their ideas for the next phase and innovate.
“We are keen to increase our working across institutional or discipline barriers and truly work as a group of integrated professionals around a family. In doing so, we want support to be offered not based on a person’s best expert view, but the best consensus that all professionals can offer so we get it right for all children.”
Watch the moment Professor Gordon knew he had won the award below.