A THREATENED service for children appears to have won a reprieve after nurses there exposed managers’ closure plans to NT.
Children’s Hospital at Home in Rugby, Warwickshire, is run by six band 6 nurses who provide nursing care and a 24-hour telephone helpline for children who have acute conditions and their families.
The aim of the service is to prevent children being admitted to hospital with severe acute conditions, such as bronchiolitis and gastroenteritis, to minimise disruption to families and to save the NHS money.
The service has been running since 2000 and sees hundreds of referrals every year. It won the NT Innovation In Your Specialty award in 2002.
However, a review of children’s services within the county, which began after its three PCTs were merged, ruled that it was unfair that Rugby had the service when the rest of the county did not.
As a result, Warwickshire PCT began to pull support for the service by not replacing staff.
When one nurse left earlier this year, the service was able to cover the vacancy with bank and agency staff.
However, a subsequent county-wide ban on the use of bank and agency staff and the retirement of sister Margaret Simmons meant that the service was unable to cope.
Children’s Hospital at Home was last week being wound up, with nurses starting to shred official documents.
However, after NT contacted the trust for comment, staff were suddenly told the service would not close after all.
Ms Simmons said: ‘A manager came in and said they had reviewed the service and that it was to carry on. We have been in tears for the past three weeks – now we feel we have been used.’
A statement from Warwickshire PCT said: ‘The Children’s Hospital at Home team in Rugby has not closed and we are currently reviewing the way the team works with a view to integrating the staff within the wider children’s community nursing team.’