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Keeping it real – how the community is helping to develop better services for women and children

Local people here in North East Lincolnshire are involved in decision-making about health and social care every step of the way. Future services are planned by teams led by three key people: a clinician who specialises in the field, a service lead from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a volunteer from the Community Forum, which represents the voice of public and patients.

We describe this way of working as “Triangles”. I joined the Women and Children ‘Triangle’ in July 2013 where I work alongside a local GP called Dr Marcia Pathak and Michelle Barnard who is the Strategic Service Lead for Women and Children. My role is to represent the view of the local community when services are being planned and developed in North East Lincolnshire.

Before I retired from the NHS, I worked as Head of Safeguarding, having previously worked as a nurse, midwife and health visitor. More importantly I had three children of my own and now have four grandchildren, so I felt that it was time to give something back to the Health Service and represent my community to the best of my ability.

The CCG was formed in 2013 and new developments in Women and Children’s services include the award-winning Paediatric Assessment Unit at the hospital and the new Community Children’s Nursing Team.

The Paediatric Assessment Unit was created to save sick children and their parents from having to wait in the Accident and Emergency Department. Instead, they can be continually assessed by qualified children’s nursing and medical staff. Anyone who has had children will know that they can either deteriorate or recover very quickly. Spending time with professionals keeping an eye on them in the Assessment Unit rather than waiting to be seen in A&E means that in many cases the child doesn’t end up having to be admitted into hospital. We want to avoid hospital stays whenever possible as unless a child needs to go on a ward for medical reasons, they are better being cared for by their family in their own surroundings.

It’s early days but the unit is being well used by families and has proven very successful in avoiding unnecessary admissions. In some cases, a child will be seen at home by the Community Children’s Nursing Team who will continue to keep an eye on things until the parents feel confident the child is getting better, although admissions can be made at any time if needed.

The Community Children’s Nursing Team is made up of highly qualified children’s nurses who specialise in a number of conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes. The team also has what we call nurse educators who can support and advise families, the hospital, GP surgeries and the wider community. The team is available between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week. They provide the service to children and young people aged under 16 and for those with a chronic health condition up to the age of 18.

The Children’s Community Nursing Team will also be running clinics at two local GP Practices which means children who need a blood test can have their sample taken by specially trained professionals who are used to taking blood from children, instead of having to go to Outpatients. In most cases, families will be able to ask their own GP for a referral to either the Raj Medical Centre or Roxton Medical Centre (Immingham) for the test.

Plans for the future include:

• review of maternity services;
• childhood obesity;
• developing services which support people to look after their own health and wellbeing;
• health services to children who are being looked after by the Local Authority or are in foster care.

I believe that we are fortunate here in North East Lincolnshire to have such a comprehensive and developing service for Women and Children that works in GP surgeries, in the community as well as in hospital. We are not complacent and welcome views and feedback from the local community with my role representing the community voice.

 

Pam Taylor - Community Representative

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