Release date: 7 August 2018
Family Assist – the online resource already helping thousands of expectant and new parents – has ended a hugely successful first year by winning a national award.
Family Assist is the UK’s only one-stop-shop of information for growing families, providing advice on a healthy pregnancy through to birth and beyond. The interactive service is accessible any time from a computer, tablet or smartphone.
Women can sign up when they become pregnant and already more than 3,500 people are registered. Family Assist has been developed jointly by West Sussex County Council, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust with the support of Oracle, a global provider of enterprise cloud computing.
The service is gaining national recognition and last month scooped a Public Sector Paperless Award, which recognises Government digital transformation excellence. It won Best Customer Experience at the ceremony in Manchester on 19 July, just days before its first anniversary on Tuesday 7 August.
Family Assist is the brainchild of Kelly Pierce, the County Council’s Consultant Midwife on secondment from Western Sussex Hospitals, who is delighted with how it’s taking off.
Kelly said: “Winning this national recognition is the icing on the cake to a fantastic first year for Family Assist and to win Best Customer Experience shows it is making a real difference to people’s lives.
“New parents often find themselves flooded with information from lots of places so we wanted to put everything they need in one space, which they can access at any time, even if that’s during a 3am feed.
“Through different agencies working together in this new way, we have been able to bring together midwifery, health visiting and children’s health services in one easy to access platform to help families from pregnancy to early years.”
Mums, dads and the friends and family they have invited to register can use Family Assist to email health professionals and get tailored information sent to them to help create a network of support around a family. A live chat feature is due to be added soon.
As Family Assist is still a relatively new service, only West Sussex parents with a child under the age of one, or expectant parents who are due to give birth at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester or Worthing Hospital, can currently register for the interactive services. As Family Assist continues to grow, it will become fully accessible across West Sussex to all families from conception through to age 19, or 25 for those with special educational needs and disabilities.
Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “This is a brilliant service unlike any other in the whole country which is really helping expectant and new parents.
“Despite its success, we know some people still won’t have heard about Family Assist so why not go online and see how it could help you?”
People can ask their midwife or health visitor about Family Assist or find out more and self-register at https://west-sussex-family-assist.custhelp.com/