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Second paediatric palliative care consultant appointed

This will bring to two the number of such posts, with one consultant in place at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. 

“This consultant works with their team to provide care to children and their families in Our Lady’s and also provides support to other paediatric units and maternity services,” said the HSE spokesperson. “In the coming months, a second consultant will take up a post based in Temple Street. These roles will become part of the new National Children’s Hospital in due course.”

In a pre-Budget submission, a coalition of children’s palliative care service providers underlined a requirement for three paediatricians with a special interest in paediatric palliative medicine who work exclusively in children’s palliative care. The submission also called for extension of the clinical nurse Co-ordinators Service for children with life-limiting illnesses.

According to the HSE, it now has 11 clinical nurse Co-ordinators for children with life-limiting conditions in place (Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Letterkenny, Drogheda, Mullingar). It hopes “to be able to expand this service next year”, dependent on funding.

The role of these nurses is to ensure the smooth transition of children from hospital so that they can be cared for at home.

The development and provision of children’s palliative care services in Ireland is guided by Palliative Care for Children with Life-limiting Conditions in Ireland — A National Policy (Department of Health, 2009).

“An external evaluation of elements of the policy completed in 2016 found that significant progress has been made on the implementation of the recommendations… The additional recommendations contained in the evaluation are currently being implemented,” said the HSE’s spokesperson.

The National Model of Care for Paediatric Healthcare Services in Ireland has a chapter on ‘palliative care’, which includes recommendations to develop and expand services such as the consultant service, the clinical nurse specialist service in Crumlin and Temple Street, and ultimately, the National Children’s Hospital, the clinical nurse co-ordinator service, neonatal service, OPD services, and respite services at home.

“The implementation of recommendations is being progressed through the service planning estimates process,” according to the HSE.

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