News, NHS trust

Lincolnshire Partnership launches Virtual Autism Hub with up to £100,000 in grants for autism support groups

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new Virtual Autism Hub to offer non-clinical advice, with the aim of bolstering support for autistic people and their families across Lincolnshire.

The hub employs specialist autism navigators, whose role includes providing information and guidance by email, phone, video call or face-to-face appointment. These navigators can also assist with practical tasks such as filling out forms or accompanying individuals to their first meetings.

It will also support the existing work of local community and support groups for autistic people, with an annual grants programme to award funding to support the strength and reach of these groups and ultimately develop a “co-ordinated county-wide network”. The first phase of the grant programme will see the hub award a total of £100,000 in funding, with successful recipients to be announced in May.

Neil Wells, service manager at the new hub, comments: “We’re incredibly proud of our new team, almost all of whom have personal experience of autism. Our combined passion to change things for the better has been a driving force in shaping this service. We know autistic people and their families often need help at many different stages. The path to diagnosis, how to deal with a diagnosis and navigating new challenges thrown up by life mean it is important there is always somewhere to turn. Up to now, it’s perhaps not always been clear who can help or where to turn.“

In other news from the region, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) has shared an update on its virtual ward programme, detailing its approach and some of the benefits it has noted, including a frailty virtual ward with just under 500 admissions in its first year, supporting a reported saving of “more than 2,000 hospital bed days”.

Back in January, we were joined for a HTN Now session by a panel of experts for a live discussion on delivering innovative new models in community healthcare. Delving into the dynamic landscape of community healthcare delivery, and exploring key strategies for a successful transition to a remote-first model, we discussed how by harnessing software and the media types that we use in everyday conversations, we can deliver this approach at scale and across a broad range of community pathways.