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Children's Centre

Our Children's Centre is a hospital within a hospital. It has been providing healthcare for North Staffordshire's children for generations and is now based inside the new £370m Roy​​al Stoke University Hospital Main Building.

At the centre, young patients are at the heart of everything we do and we have everything needed to make sure they and their families feel as welcome and comfortable as possible. Indoor and outdoor play areas, classrooms, cafes and coffee shops are all provided and have facilities which cater for children from across this area and beyond.

We provide a dedicated children's emergency centre, an intensive care unit with wards as well as an outpatients area. The centre has built up a reputation for providing first-class health services relating to a range of common childhood problems, injuries and conditions.

Young patients using the service also have access to specialist clinical teams and their expertise, who care for children with complex conditions or medical problems. Many of these specialty areas see the centre at the forefront of treatment in the UK which has led to a growing international reputation for excellence.

Address: Hilton Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 6SQ

​A trip to the Emergency Centre can be a daunting experience so the purpose-built unit at the Royal Stoke University Hospital is geared to making children feel right at ho​me. Brightly-coloured decorations, play areas with play specialists and children's shows on televisions all help to keep children occupied while they wait to be assessed or treated.

Visitors arriving at Accident and Emergency are booked in at reception in a child-friendly department which is separated from the adult unit by a locked security door with its own video entry system. After being booked in they are seen by a triage nurse within a targeted 15 minutes, where they might be given painkillers, first aid or a quick treatment if possible.

Children who need further assessment are seen by a doctor within a target of an hour and may go on to be X-rayed if needed. Facilities, staffing levels and expertise at the unit are of the very highest quality. So much so that it is a regional trauma unit, accepting emergency admissions from as far afield as north Wales.​

Situated next to the Emergency Centre, the purpose-designed Children's Assessment Unit (​CAU) has all the skills and resources to assess and diagnose a huge range of medical conditions, which differ from those seen in Accident and Emergency.

Conditions seen in the Children's Assessment Unit range from respiratory problems, chest infections and tonsillitis, through to ear infections, gastroenteritis, poor feeding and abdominal pain, to rashes, and skin infections.

The young patients can be referred by their GP, who can call the unit and send a letter with the family. Occasionally, an ambulance paramedic responding to a 999 call will decide it is more appropriate to bring a child direct to the unit, or a clinician in the Emergency Centre will seek the advice of a specialist paediatrician.

Some patients, who are well known to the Cheethams team because of a long-standing issue like a respiratory complaint, are given an open access plan, which means if they develop a problem relating to their overall condition they can turn up at the unit at any time. Open access plans are decided by consultants in the team.

Children who need to be admitted to hospital either go on to one of the two Cheethams wards, or in the most severe cases, can be taken straight to the Children's Intensive Care Unit.​

The Children's Endocrine team consists of passionate and dedicated paediatric consultants and specialist nurses who  provide high quality care for over 350 children with various endocrine conditions. General endocrine outpatient clinics are held weekly at Royal Stoke and monthly at County Hospital in Stafford. Both sites offer a dedicated Children's Outpatients Department.

Specialised clinics for Prader Willi and Turner Syndrome are held every four months and provide an opportunity to talk to other families of children with the same condition. The relevant support groups are also represented in these clinics to provide families with information leaflets, details of social events and other external  support available.

A consultant from Birmingham Children's Hospital joins the consultant from Royal Stoke every two months to see and discuss the children with complex endocrine conditions.

The senior Clinical Nurse Specialist also holds a nurse led thyroid clinic on a monthly basis.

Young people who are ready to be moved into the adult service are seen jointly by the paediatric and adult consultants in the Transition Clinic that is held every three months. This ensures a seamless transfer of care from paediatrics to the adult service. The young person is prepared for the move, by equipping them with the knowledge and ownership of their own condition.

Dynamic function tests to assess puberty, adrenal function and growth hormone production are carried out by the specialist nurses in the dedicated day room in the Children's Medical Day Unit within the Children's Centre. The room is equipped with a TV, DVD player, X-box, books and toys to provide a child friendly environment.

The specialist nurses also deliver education, training and support for those children and families with children who require growth hormone,  adrenal conditions, and thyroid disorders. The nurses also provide treatment for children with early and late puberty.

Newly diagnosed babies with Congenital Hypothyroidism are seen promptly, started on treatment if needed and appropriate interventions undertaken in accordance with the national recommendations. Babies are followed up regularly by the consultant and support is offered by the specialist nurses, in the form of written information leaflets or advice via the telephone.

The team has close links with the biochemistry lab, x-ray department, dieticians, health visitors and school nurses to ensure that the child/ young person's needs are fully met.

The team, as a whole, attend regular conferences and training days to update their knowledge and have presented posters at local and national endocrine meetings. They continually strive to maintain a high quality service by supporting education, audit and research.

At University Hospitals we aim to provide excellent care and services for babies and children from birth to 17 years. Our team realises what an anxious and stressful time it can be for the family when a child is ill or requiring investigations. We therefore take every measure possible to ensure that the individual needs of all our children and their families are fully supported.

We offer a wide range of paediatric gastroenterology services provided by two consultant paediatric gastroenterologists. We have an experienced clinical nurse specialist who manages feeding gastrostomy problems, runs nurse specialist clinics in constipation and performs GI physiology investigations such as oesophageal pH monitoring and ano-rectal manometry. She also provides telephone support for our inflammatory bowel disease patients.

We are supported by an excellent dietetic department who have a wealth of experience in managing a wide variety of nutritional problems including anorexia nervosa, complications of GI surgery, liver disease, food allergy/intolerances and neuro-disability. We have access to specialist psychological services for children who require counselling for their gastro-intestinal disease or whom have psycho-somatic GI symptoms.

We offer specialist clinics in nutrition for neuro-disabled children (in special schools), coeliac disease, and transition to adult services. We provide shared care for children with serious liver problems (e.g. post liver transplant, biliary atresia) and have firm links with Birmingham Children's Hospital Paediatric Liver Unit.

We accept referrals for upper endoscopy including small bowel biopsy, endoscopic gastrostomy insertion (PEGs) and ileo-colonoscopy. All procedures are performed under general anaesthetic provided by paediatric anaesthetists in our fully equipped treatment room adjacent to the Children's Intensive care unit (CICU).​

The specialist intensive care unit not only serves this area but also plays a key role in the West Midlands and beyond. Cheethams works closely with the KIDS - Kids Intensive Care and Decision Service - initiative and the intensive care unit at Birmingham Children's ​Hospital to ensure that the best care is available to critically ill children in the area.

Six consultants and 53 highly-skilled nurses staff the modern, spacious eight-bed ward which has the latest state-of-the-art medical technology. The facilities also contain seven bedrooms of various sizes to accommodate the patients' families in a child and family-friendly department.

In addition to standard intensive care procedures, the unit is a nationally-acclaimed, specialist centre for non-invasive respiratory intensive care - one of reasons why it takes private patients from overseas whose families bring them to Cheethams for world-class treatment. The ward also has specialist support services for patients who have had spinal surgery.

Multi-disciplinary care for all patients is provided by a team of play specialists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, dieticians and hospital chaplains. Access to a specially trained psychologist is available for both the child and the family.​

Most children who require treatment at Cheethams Children's Centre receive this as outpatients. As with the Emergency Centre, there is a dedicated outpatients area for children at Cheethams which hosts clinics and receive day cases.​

A whole range of clinics and specialties are seen through the department, treating children who do not necessarily require overnight assessment on a ward.

The outpatients area is light and bright and features an adolescent room with computer games and age-appropriate magazines. There is also a distraction station designed to take children's minds off procedures with toys and a micro projector so young people can plug in their mobile phones and listen to their own music.​

​The need for surgery can often be a stressful experience for both children and parents but experienced specialists are there to care at all stages of the surgical process. Families also have the significant reassurance of a paediatric anaesthetist, on call 24 hours a day.

Specialists include paediatric orthopaedic surgeons who have a busy caseload of emergency surgery, such as fractures, and planned procedures which may treat conditions present at birth like hip problems identified in babies.

Ear, nose and throat surgeons who specialise in children's cases perform some of the dozens of procedures carried out at Cheethams every week, as do maxillofacial and dentistry colleagues and specialists in spinal injuries and deformity and ophthalmology.

Paediatric plastic surgeons are also on hand to give support in emergency cases. There are wards at the hospital for children visiting for planned day case surgery, or more serious cases who need to be in hospital prior to their operation.​

An Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist is supported by three oncology nurses in providing chemotherapy service and day case procedures. They also support the nurses on the hospital wards in delivering care and treatments.

A seven-strong nursing team care for children with respiratory illnesses including cystic fibrosis, asthma and children with long-term ventilation needs. Two of the nurses work specifically with children who have Cystic Fibrosis, contributing to Cheethams' reputation as a centre of national excellence for treatment of the condition.

Two other nurses in the team are responsible for co-ordinating the discharge home of complex patients, usually needing ventilatory help with their breathing. A Child Asthma Nurse Specialist runs nurse-led asthma clinics and performs skin prick testing.

The community paediatric team is based in the Child Development Centre, Hilton Road and is part of an integrated child health ​service based within the Trust. The Child Development Centre provides a comprehensive centralised service in which professionals can work with, and support parents in achieving an early diagnosis and appropriate intervention for young children with developmental problems.

​The community service manages children with the most chronic complex needs and the most vulnerable groups of children. The team works within multidisciplinary and multi-agency teams and have strong links with local health visitors, school nurses, education, social service and therapy teams.

The services undertaken are:

  • 'Looked after' children - We provide an initial health assessment in line with statutory requirements when a child becomes 'looked after' as well as providing a detailed report on the family and personal health and developmental history of children being considered for adoption.
  • Child protection - We provide 24 hour cover for all child protection referrals including physical and sexual abuse cases within the area.
  • Developmental paediatrics - We take referrals for children with suspected developmental problems and are responsible for the assessment, investigation and on going management of these children in the most appropriate setting i.e. hospital, at home or at school.
  • Epilepsy - We provide a service for children with complex epilepsies.
  • Gastroenterology - We hold bi-monthly clinics to assess and treat children with developmental disorders and feeding/nutritional problems including assessment for PEG (tube) feeding.
  • Audiology - We receive referrals from GPs, health visitors and speech and language therapists to assess children hearing, referring them on to be seen by the ENT clinic if required.
  • Educational medicine - We hold clinics in certain special schools in the area to offer ongoing medical care of children who have significant health and educational needs.

The child protection department is based in the Child Development Centre, on Hilton Road, Stoke-on-Trent.  It is run by a range of staff which includes a child protection nurse from the Trust, a child protection doctor from the Trust and administrative support. The designated doctor for child protection for North Staffordshire provides support and advice and is employed by the Trust.

There is a 24 hour child protection rota which is staffed by consultant community paediatricians who have responsibility for managing child protection medical examinations. 

The department also supports all activities necessary to ensure the Trust meets its responsibilities in safeguarding all children and young people whether inpatients, outpatients or visitors. It has clear lines of responsibility.

The child protection department provides advice on child protection and safeguarding matters to the Trust, its staff across all divisions and to other agencies.  It ensures the Trust has policies and procedures in place to safeguard children in line with national guidance and also produces an annual report which is approved by the Trust's Clinical Governance Board and details the activity within the department. 

The members of the department have an active role in the two Local Safeguarding Children Boards (which are the statutory boards legislated for by the Children Act 2004) and their subcommittees. This area has two Safeguarding Children Boards - Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. 

The department also plays a key role in training. The training strategy for safeguarding children and young people is developed and updated by the department and the training is delivered to all staff groups within the Trust. Through the training, staff are made aware of the policies and procedures to safeguard children, how to access them and what their role is. 

​The child protection department monitors compliance with national standards and recommendations.  The named and designated professionals in the department attend regular relevant local, regional and national conferences and courses in order to maintain up to date skills in the area of child protection and safeguarding children. They also take part in the annual appraisal process.

Addr​ess

Child Protection Office, Child Development Centre

City General site

Newcastle Road

Stoke on Trent

ST4 6QG

Telephon​e numbers

Child Protection Co-ordinator 01782 679802 - office number

Gemma Shawis, Named Nurse for Child Protection, 01782 679803

Mandy Stenson, Named Midwife for Child Protection, 01782 671067

Dr Ros Negrycz, Designated Doctor for Child Protection 01782 679839

Dr Jackie Kilding, Named Doctor for Child Protection 01782 679809

There are no specialist emergency facilities for ill children to be seen in Stafford. You should bring your child to County Hospital, Stafford only when you are confident they will not need hospital admission.

If your child is unwell and after an initial assessment does not need a further emergency review you will be provided with information and redirected to an alternative route of care such as your GP or pharmacist. County Hospital is not a GP service or dental practice. Please contact NHS 111 should you feel you might need one of these services.

Children aged 15 and under who are unwell who require an emergency assessment and have an illness which requires treatment will be transferred to the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department based at Royal Stoke University Hospital. Children aged 15 and under can be treated at the Children’s Minor Injuries Unit at County Hospital in Stafford between 8am-10pm 7 days a week.

The Minor Injuries Unit should be used for:
• Head injuries (without loss of consciousness)
• Limb injuries
• Wounds
• Sprains, bruises, fractures

The Children’s Minor Injuries Unit should NOT be used for:
• Illnesses such as ear ache and tummy ache
• Rash/fever Vomiting/diarrhoea
• Chronic illnesses
• Severely unwell/injured

Royal Stoke University Hospital
If your child is critically ill or may need to be admitted to hospital, they will be transferred to the Children’s Accident and Emergency Department at Royal Stoke University Hospital. This is where our specialist paediatricians (children’s doctors) are based and they can provide your child with the care they need.