THANKS to the set up of a community team, more than 3,600 Portsmouth children have avoided going to hospital.
The Children’s Outreach Assessment and Support Team (Coast), which is run by Solent NHS Trust, was set up five years ago, to cut the number of children going to Queen Alexandra Hospital’s A&E department.
The team gets referrals from GPs of ‘amber’ children, who may be suffering from conditions such as chest infections, tummy bugs, asthma or urinary tract infections.
This month the team is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and is hoping it will be extended to south east Hampshire.
Kelly Owen, Coast team leader and an advanced paediatric nurse practitioner, said: ‘It’s encouraging to note we have been a success to date.
‘We have an exemplary safety record, having had 4,000 referrals and no adverse events or serious untoward incidents. Furthermore, there have been no complaints. Of the 4,000 children that have been referred to Coast in the past five years, only nine per cent – 360 children – have needed to be referred to hospital.
‘So we have kept more than 3,640 children out of hospital, previously, most of these children will have ended up hospitalised.’
Coast is made up of eight children’s nurses, who visit children at home, to assess them and offer advice and support to the family as the child recovers from their illness.
They run seven days a week, from 8am to 10pm during the week, and from 9am to 6pm at weekends and bank holidays.
The service is paid for by the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dr Linda Collie, from the CCG governing board, said: ‘Coast is a good quality service, supporting children and families to stay out of hospital and be nursed within their own homes.
‘The team have a number of highly-trained paediatric nurse practitioners who are able to cover a wide range of conditions.
‘This specialist support enables GPs to avoid admitting children to hospital, as well as educating and empowering parents to feel better able to manage their child’s condition at home.’