Specialist Health Services for Children in Care
There are several health teams within Gloucestershire who provide specialist services for Children in Care in Gloucestershire. We work together as a ‘virtual team’ to help each other in working to improve health outcomes for our children.
Nurses for Children in Care
Pauline and Liz are both registered nurses who have worked as School Nurses. We work mainly with Foster Carers, Social Workers and health workers ie Health Visitors, School Nurses and doctors to make sure that Children in Care get good health services and support those who care for them to help them stay healthy. Children in Care may have had their health needs neglected, or may have missed out on the routine care that we would expect for our own children. It is also important that these workers understand some of the issues faced for children who are in care. We do this by training and giving support and advice and face to face work with children.
All Children in Care are expected to have regular health assessments to make sure that they are growing up in a healthy environment and get any health care which they may have missed out on, (this is a statutory responsibility). It also gives children the chance to speak to a doctor or nurse in private to discuss anything that might be worrying them.
It is a requirement under the Children Act (1989) that all children admitted into the care of the local authority are seen for an Initial Health Assessment (IHA) by a Doctor by the time of the first review. All IHAs for children entering care in Gloucestershire are completed by 3 specialist GPs at the Hadwen Surgery in Gloucester. Once the Social Worker has sent the necessary paperwork to the surgery, the staff at Hadwen will contact you to arrange an appointment. You should treat this appointment as a priority to ensure that the child’s health needs are identified in a timely way with a clear action plan.
The doctors at the surgery should have information from the child's Social Worker and GP, though at this point often information is limited, so any information that you are able to share will be helpful. You will be asked to complete a carers report and either return to the surgery, or take it with you to the appointment. This will help to build a picture of how the child is presenting in the home environment on a day to day basis.
Most Review Health Assessments will be carried out in your foster home or the child's residential placement, but if the child would prefer it to take place somewhere else this can be arranged too. Most Review Health Assessments are completed by Health Visitors, School Nurses and specialist nurses.The health assessment should look at all areas of the child's health and review actions from the previous health assessment to make sure nothing has been missed. At the end of the health assessment the doctor or nurse will discuss with the child and carer what needs to happen as a result of the health assessment. The recommendations from the health assessment are then shared with the child's GP, Social Worker and Foster Carer (with appropriate consent) so that they can make sure the child gets the treatment or care needed.
What is My Role as a Foster Carer in Health Assessments and Health Appointments?
Foster Carers are crucial to support our children to grow and thrive in healthy environments which meets the child’s needs.
Foster Carers can play an important role in explaining to children and young people why the health assessment is so important. If the child has a Personal Child Health Record (red book), please take this with you to any health appointments so that it can be updated. This is helpful for information sharing, but also so that the child has a full history of their health care which is kept up to date. If the child does not have their own red book this should be reissued by either the Health Visitor, School Nurse or Children in Care Nurse. If you need any information (i.e. immunisation history) to include in the red book, or your child needs a new red book to be issued, you can contact your Health Visitor, School Nurse or one of our team to arrange this.
All foster carers should be given a copy of the Delegation of Authority form by the child’s Social Worker for each child in your care. You should take a copy of the health section with the child to any health appointments and make sure that the child's GP has an up to date copy of this. This will clarify the legal situation and who can consent for health treatment.
From time to time we will carry out surveys of children and foster carers to ask you what you thought about the health assessment process and experience so that we can look at what is working well and where we might do things better in the future.
You can contact one of us at the following telephone numbers:
Children in Care Health Team: 0300 421 8164 / 8142 / 8742 / 8298