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New nursing post launched in Wales to keep children out of hospital

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A national charity has launched a new nursing post in North East Wales to help seriously ill children get the care they need closer to their homes and families.

WellChild has funded and this week launched a new children’s nurse post in Flintshire for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to support families in the community, hospitals and specialist centres.

“I enjoy the challenges that supporting children and young people with complex needs and their families brings”

Esther Bennington

The post has been taken up by Esther Bennington who will be based at Catherine Gladstone House in Mancot where she will support families at home to help minimise the number of times children have to be admitted to hospital.

Ms Bennington has an impressive background in children’s nursing and previously worked for the charity as a parent trainer nurse to teach mums and dads how to provide essential medical care for their children once they leave hospital.

Speaking about her new role, Ms Bennington said being a WellChild nurse “means the world” to her.

“I enjoy the challenges that supporting children and young people with complex needs and their families brings - supporting them on their journey home, liaising with different teams or sign-posting them to agencies for support,” she said.

The WellChild Nurses’ programme was set up to address a gap in the provision of care and support for children with long-term serious illness and complex conditions.

The charity’s children’s nurse pilot programme began in 2006 and there are now currently posts all across the UK, including: Ayrshire, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cumbria, Newcastle, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Hywel Dda, Kirklees, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton, Walsall and West Sussex.

The charity said it had plans to launch further posts throughout the year, with an overarching aim of eventually providing every seriously ill child or young person access to a WellChild children’s nurse.

Ms Bennington’s manager, Patrick Howells, said: “The impact of the WellChild nurse for complex case discharges has been significant in improving the quality of care provided to highly vulnerable children and young people due to their complex medical needs.

“Overall the post continues to make great strides in improving care delivered to children”

Patrick Howells

“The post has ensured the transfer of children with the most complex needs from the acute hospital setting back home are well planned and co-ordinated with all the input required to maintain and support the child at home in place prior to the discharge going ahead,” he added.

Mr Howells said Ms Bennington had worked “tirelessly” to develop effective communication between the acute wards and specialist centres for children in North East Wales and the services in the community.

“This has enabled a more effective identification of children who may require ongoing community support post discharge and in assisting in well planned and briefer admissions when a child does require in patient care for specific procedures,” he added.

“Overall the post continues to make great strides in improving care delivered to children within North East Wales and demonstrates the importance of Wellchild’s work in enabling organisations to develop new roles to facilitate these improvements,” said Mr Howells.

Ms Bennington’s post was made possible through grants from the Steve Morgan Foundation, the Moondance Foundation and the Waterloo Foundation.

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