Specialist children’s nurses are meeting in London later this week to discuss inequalities in healthcare for young people and how they can be addressed.
The annual conference of Roald Dahl nurses is being held on Thursday (12 October), and is a gathering of specialist nurses who care for seriously ill children.
“Our nurses are the heart and soul of our charity, so ensuring their professional development is paramount”
These more than 100 nurses, whose positions were established by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, will hear latest research relevant to their roles as part of the event, which is aimed at providing professional development.
The conference this year is themed on health inequalities faced by children with medically complex conditions.
Louise Griew, chief executive of the charity, said this theme was “fundamental” to her organisation’s work and that it was in the process of establishing further specialist nurse positions in the NHS specifically for children with medical complexities to counteract it.
“Alongside other health professionals, we have identified that many seriously ill children are classified under a particular medical specialism while actually experiencing multiple conditions,” she said.
“Our approach with Roald Dahl Nurse Specialists is to address this care gap and the associated health inequalities, and to provide the holistic support these children and their families really need.”
The conference will host keynote speeches from senior nurses and other experts in the field of children’s healthcare.
Kate Pye, deputy director of children and young people’s nursing for NHS England, will provide the nurses with a national update on the issue of health inequalities.
This will be followed by John James, chief executive of the Sickle Cell Community, who will speak about the inequalities faced by, primarily, Black patients who have sickle cell disease.
Nurses will also hear about new research, on the “barriers and facilitators” of children with complex chronic health conditions moving to adult health services, recently published by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death.
This research outlines the “disproportionate impact” that this transition between healthcare systems can have on the seriously ill children, and shares what good practice for moving them should entail.
Ms Griew added: “Our nurses are the heart and soul of our charity, so ensuring their professional development is paramount.
“Everything we do is about ensuring that the impact our nurses have on the families they care for is the greatest it can be, whilst also supporting our nurses’ wellbeing and mental health, particularly during and post-pandemic.
“In fact, the final session at our conference is all about giving our nurses tools to deal with the tough days, and our peer-to-peer network empowers the nurses to support and encourage each other.”