How Rainbow Trust can reduce pressures on hospitals

With NHS Hospital Trusts across the country reporting very high levels of pressure on their services, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity calls on Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt to look again at opening up existing funding for child palliative care to non-clinical services providing emotional and practical support.

Recent weeks have seen a steady stream of media stories relating to pressures on hospitals, including a one year child whose heart operation was cancelled five times before it was eventually carried out, elderly patients waiting for hours on trollies, and many hospital trusts missing their target for responding to Accident and Emergency patients. At the same time data suggests high numbers of nurses leaving the profession.

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity can assist in the timely discharge of children who are in-patients and can help free up hospital beds. The opening up of existing funding for child palliative care could enable the charity to do this in more parts of the country.

As set out in the report, Hidden Savings, Rainbow Trust’s support for families can be a factor in enabling the discharge of children to the family home. In particular, the support of a Family Support Worker can allow parents to feel more confident about caring for their child at home because of the emotional and practical support that provided by a Family Support Worker. Our estimates suggest that around £424 is saved each time a night in hospital is prevented because a child’s family feels more able to take their child home.

Yet at present Rainbow Trust receives no funding at all from NHS England and local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) despite the savings that its services can enable.

Zillah Bingley, CEO of Rainbow Trust, said:

‘The scale of the current pressure on NHS Trusts is a matter of grave concern for the both patients and the public. Recent media reports remind us once again of the importance of social care support in enabling hospitals to discharge patients of all ages in a timely way..

But the emotional and practical support provided by organisations such as Rainbow Trust remains undervalued, and the funding of children’s social care is highly uncertain. We know that social care is essential for the many thousands of families who have a life threatened or terminally ill child, and who need more support than their own resources and networks can provide. At the same time this support enables much needed savings for the health system. We are confident that Rainbow Trust is saving at least £2 million in savings each year for the health and social care system as a whole.

We urge Jeremy Hunt, with his new title as Secretary of State for both Health and Social Care, to open up existing funding streams to cost effective services such as ours which offer non-clinical care but are helping to keep children out of hospital by enhancing the ability of families to cope at the most challenging of times.’

Read the Hidden Savings report here.