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Education, Health and Care Plans

Volume 681: debated on Tuesday 6 October 2020

What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on ensuring that education, health and care plans are linked effectively with the healthcare system. (907104)

Education, health and care plans identify the support needs of children and young people across those three areas. Local authorities and health bodies are required to jointly commission the services. The Government are currently undertaking a review of the special educational needs and disability system, and I am working on this with my ministerial counterpart in the Department for Education.

I thank the Secretary of State and Ministers for their focus on Dorset County Hospital in the recent investment announcements, but in my West Dorset constituency, I have totally unacceptable waiting times of up to two years for EHCPs for children and their parents. That is totally unacceptable. They face the most difficult of situations and, I am afraid, are losing hope. Will the Minister help me in supporting these desperate children and parents who need to get their EHCPs done?

My hon. Friend makes an important point about how we need to see children and young people getting in place, as soon as possible, the support that can help them and about how there are waiting times for these plans. There are two things I can say in response. First, in the context of covid, NHS England has made it clear to NHS organisations that they must restart and restore services that support children and young people with EHC plans and in the assessments for those plans. Secondly, in the review of the SEND system, we are indeed looking at how we can address some of the problems in the system and achieve better integration across health, care and education.