Boost for Greenwich children's services

We will be launching an enhanced Integrated Children's Service in the Royal Borough of Greenwich next month. At the heart of the service will be a dedicated team of community children's nurses.

The team is presently based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, but the empty packing cases are already piled up outside their offices, ready for the move to Oxleas from South London Healthcare NHS Trust. The nurses will have a temporary home for a short period before moving into a permanent base at Wensley Close, Eltham.

They will work closely with existing services and provide a team of children's nurses working alongside other healthcare professionals in clinics and family homes. It will help prevent children having to go in to hospital unless they need to.

The service begins operating on 1 September and will develop to become fully operational over the course of the year. Oxleas was chosen as the preferred provider following a competitive tender process by NHS Greenwich.

Kate Medhurst, Team Lead, said: "We are currently a team of eight community children's nurses and an administrator. All of us are paediatric nurses and have undertaken further training to support children and young people in the community.

"We look after infants and children up to the age of 18, 19 if they have learning disabilities. All of our patients will have a nursing need. Some might need intravenous medication continued in the home after being discharged from hospital, some babies might need oxygen therapy in the home, and some might simply need their blood pressure checked.

"We also care for children with long term conditions such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes and cancer. Others enable children to feed through tubes whether it is through the nose or tummy. This may be needed to help those not gaining weight or unable to swallow.

"During the last 18 months we have been involved in the development of the Children's Continuing Care service. This means we assess and provide bespoke packages of care for those requiring 24 hours of high level care.

"We are looking forward to the move to Oxleas, where all children's services will be under one roof. There will be technological advantages too. We presently keep medical notes the old fashioned way, on paper. We are looking forward to using the electronic RiO medical records system.

"And we expect to integrate more with GP services, to support them a lot more in their care of children.

"CCN isn't just about nursing, but providing education to the families so they feel confident to manage their child's needs as well as providing the appropriate social and emotional support."

Kate added that the unit will grow with the addition of more nurses, another administrator, new attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) nurses, professional carers to work within the continuing care service, a clinical psychologist, dieticians and a Demelza nurse to provide palliative care support.

Published on 17th August 2012