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Specialist children's nurse to increase community care

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Ms Baker with a girl she works with Ms Baker with one of the girls benefitting from the service

NHS Lothian has hired a specialist children's nurse to bridge the gap between community and hospital care.

Xanthe Baker will help chronically ill children and young people with exceptional health needs across Edinburgh, Midlothian and East and West Lothian to leave hospital and receive the care and treatment they need at home.

She will be based within the Lothian Exceptional Needs Support Group (LENS) and will support families by working closely with colleagues in the community, hospitals, hospices and other specialist centres to ensure the highest quality of care. One of the main aims of her job is to reduce the time the children have to spend in hospital by arranging and coordinating the care they need at home, as well as providing emotional and practical support for the whole family.

Ms Baker said: 'I will be working closely with families already in the service as well as families who will be going through transition from hospital to home and transition from paediatric to adult services. I hope to improve the experience for all families and look forward to the challenges this will bring.'

Ms Baker will be working as part of the WellChild Nurses' programme which was established to address the gap in the provision of care and support for sick children with long-term serious illness and complex conditions. WellChild is a national charity working to provide support and care for ill children across the country.

Julie McGill, clinical nurse manager community, said: 'The WellChild nurse in Lothian will provide a single point of contact for families, in relation to the agreed package of care for their child and when required lead and support the transition of the young person and their family into adult services. She will ensure each family is fully engaged with and involved in all aspects of the agreed outcomes in order for families feel confident and supported to care for their child at home.'

WellChild's pilot Children's Nurse programme began in 2006, and its success has already resulted in the creation of posts in Ayrshire, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cumbria, East Sussex, Hywel Dda in Wales, Kirklees, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton, Walsall and West Sussex.

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