Norfolk’s new rapid response nursing team for unexpected child deaths

A new team of children's nurses and a consultant are providing a cross-county rapid access service for unexpected children's deaths.

The Rapid Response Team involves a team of four senior paediatric nurses, and a consultant paediatrician from the Jenny Lind Children's Hospital at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The aim of the team is to help and assist parents who have lost a child unexpectedly and to help establish, where possible, contributory factors that have led to the death.

Rapid response team leader Sarah Burton said: 'It's a new role for us as senior children's nurses and we're visiting and supporting families who have lost a child very recently.

'It's a difficult role but one that's very rewarding.

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'Parents always want answers and it's our job to work with the coroner and other agencies to help find those answers where possible.'

The team works closely with Norfolk Constabulary and social services.

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Team members, who do not wear uniforms, visit families in their homes to support them following a child's death and to help establish what led to the death.

Det Insp Debbie Gunnill, of Norfolk Constabulary's vulnerable people directorate, said: 'This new team plays an important part in helping parents and families understand why they have suffered the loss of a child.

'Specialist officers from the vulnerable people directorate work closely with the rapid response team and other agencies to help establish why the child died.

'This can include liaising with the coroner or visiting the parents with the rapid response team member.

'The aim of this close partnership approach is to ensure that answers are found as soon as possible in a coordinated and appropriate way.'

The team provides a seven-day service for the whole county in a service commissioned by NHS Norfolk.

The team covers the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, and also the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

The rapid response team comprises paediatric nurses Sarah Burton, Liz McDonnell, Kirstin Skinner, Sonia Furness, Sophie Mitchell and paediatrician Dr Sharmila Nair.

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