UCLH @ Brandon Centre New model combines medicine, psychology, and youth support
Last October, we launched a new integrated service with the NHS adolescent team at University College London Hospitals (UCLH). We spoke to Lizzie Wortley, lead Paediatric Registrar, and Joe Burton, Project Manager about what makes this new service so innovative and important.
What is UCLH @ Brandon Centre?
The service, known as the UCLH Adolescent Service, will be funded by the UCLH Transformation Fund until March then, for another two years, by the UCLH charity. The service will see 13 to 18 year-olds with complex medical needs living in the Camden and Islington area.
“We’ll see young people from a viewpoint that’s not always available elsewhere,” says Lizzie Wortley, Paediatric Registrar.
“For example, the young person that gets referred in with a physical problem like a headache or tummy pain, but for whom medical screening tells you there’s no major red flag.”
It’s not necessarily clear what the mental or physical health needs are of these young people. For many, this results in them becoming ‘lost in the system’, while their symptoms continue to impact their lives.
The service will see those young people from a 360-degree professional perspective which will assess their wellbeing from a medical, psychological, and social point of view.
“We’ll look at how much of the problem is driven by function, and how much of a role stress, anxiety, or other factors are at play in the way those symptoms manifest themselves,” says Lizzie.
“In this way, we can help them manage their physical symptoms by helping them understand the interaction of everything that’s going on in their life.”
Where is the service based?
At Brandon Centre, 26 Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town, London NW5 3LG.
A big benefit of working with the UCLH team at Brandon Centre is that it allows us to make these important services available within the community.
“It’s a level of accessibility that you just can’t create in a big tertiary hospital,” says Lizzie.
What’s also innovative about the service is that it brings together several professionals, with different skills, into one space. Young people will be seen at Brandon Centre by a multidisciplinary team including paediatricians, psychologists, youth workers and occupational therapists.
Together, the team will be able to make decisions about the best course of action there and then, avoiding the potential delays of referrals down the wrong route.
“It’s about giving practical and pragmatic support without having to have 5 or 6 conversations with different professionals who weren’t in the room and didn’t see the interaction for themselves,” says Lizzie “That’s why this service is going to be so helpful.”
“This is a really exciting opportunity,” says Julia Brown, Brandon Centre CEO. “By offering this service we’re pulling secondary care out into the community. We’re able to look at the young person holistically and support their health and wellbeing, whether it’s a short-term challenge or a longer-term issue.”
“We hope that by making healthcare accessible in a welcoming and friendly environment, young people will realise that talking to professionals isn’t this big scary thing,” says Lizzie.
“We want to encourage them to take a proactive and positive approach to their own health, which will have important benefits for them as they reach their 20s and 30s. And this, in turn, benefits the healthcare system as a whole.”
How can people access the service?
“Young people will generally be triaged in from the GP referral lists at first, but we’re also working with schools and other third sector youth groups to see if we can open up additional sources of referral, as well as make sure that young people who could benefit from the service are seen and heard,” says Joe.
When is the service available?
Tuesday afternoons @ Brandon Centre
If you know someone who could benefit from the service, or to find out more, contact: