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Prince Harry meets new children’s charity nurse in Leeds

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The latest specialist nurse appointed by WellChild has received a visit from the charity’s patron Prince Harry.

Prince Harry met WellChild Nurse Helen Tooby on 7 July at Leeds Children’s Hospital, where she will help support children and young people living with serious or exceptional health needs.

“Being able  to empower families to look after their child confidently at home is extremely rewarding”

Helen Tooby

She was recently appointed to provide families in Leeds and Yorkshire with the help and confidence to get their children out of hospital and home quickly and safely.

During his visit to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Prince Harry also met a group of the children and families who have been helped by Ms Tooby on their transition from hospital to home.

Ms Tooby’s post has been funded by pharmaceutical company GSK and she will be the main point of contact for all children at the hospital with a tracheostomy.

She will support families, from the point of diagnosis, with training and advice, helping them to learn to care for their child and gain the confidence they need to support them at home, said the charity.

Ms Tooby qualified in 2006 and first worked at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital where she looked after a range of children with orthopaedic problems and spinal injuries, including her first tracheostomy patients.


Prince Harry visits new children’s charity nurse in Leeds

Prince Harry with WellChild nurse Helen Tooby

In 2009, she moved to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital as a senior staff nurse where she worked on high dependency, medical, and surgical wards.

While there, she looked after numerous tracheostomy patients, building up her knowledge on tracheostomy and ventilator care and learnt about complex discharges.

She was subsequently promoted to deputy sister and in 2014 became the clinical educator there and supported staff to learn new skills.

Ms Tooby said: “I feel very lucky to be joining the WellChild nurse family. This role gives me the opportunity to support children and families, not only in hospital, but also at home.

“These families are inspiring to work with. They have often been on a very long and emotional journey in hospital and have shown such resilience,” she said.

“Looking after a child with a tracheostomy can be a very daunting experience for parents and being in a position to be able teach and empower families to look after their child confidently at home is extremely rewarding,” she added.

Wellchild chief executive Colin Dyer said welcoming Prince Harry to the launch of the WellChild nurse at Leeds Children’s Hospital was a “proud moment for the charity”.

“Sadly, there are many more children, young people and families across the country who do not yet have access to a WellChild nurse,” said Mr Dyer.

“So, while we celebrate today, tomorrow we will continue our efforts to meet the need of the growing numbers of children and young people living with serious and exceptional health needs,” he said.

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