Support available - text secure ‘Chat Health’ serviceParents, children and young people across Bradford District and Craven now have a simple, easy way to get in touch with a health visitor, breastfeeding support or a school nurse by texting them using the secure ‘Chat Health’ service.

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Community Children’s service has introduced three Chat Health lines. Developed by the NHS for the NHS, Chat Health enables someone to text a question, query, or concern in confidence to a specific team. The sender receives an immediate acknowledgement that their text has been received by the system. A member of the local team then responds by text in working hours, usually within 24 hours.

Service manager Gill Brayshaw has been leading the Care Trust’s work to introduce Chat Health. She says: “We’re always looking for how we can improve our service and these three lines will make it easier for people to contact our teams. It takes just seconds to send us a text, in complete confidence to get reliable NHS advice and support. Of course, people who prefer not to text us can still get in touch with our teams as they did before.”

Children and young people aged 11-19 can text the School Nursing team on 07312 263223 for advice and support on a wide range of issues, from healthy eating and emotional health and wellbeing, to alcohol, smoking or vaping, drugs, self-harm, contraception, sexual health or bullying.

The parent advice line is for parents and carers of under-fives to text the Health Visiting team on 07312 263240. Again, a wide range of advice and support is offered on topics such as safe sleep, behaviour, crying, toileting, immunisations, development and mental health.  And for mums who are breastfeeding, the Community Infant Feeding team can be texted on 07312 263233 with any queries or concerns about breastfeeding, or for details of local support groups and clinics.

The Care Trust is distributing posters, cards and stickers in schools, clinics and family hubs to make people aware of the new Chat Health service and numbers.

Gill Brayshaw said: “We really hope people will embrace Chat Health because it couldn’t be easier for parents, children and young people to get local NHS advice in confidence.”